Researchers from Australia have developed a self-healing solar cell that can repair radiation damage in space. The efficiency suffers only minimally.

There are now numerous energy sources on earth. In space, however, things are different. Nevertheless, there are now almost countless satellites in orbit around the earth. They often cover their energy requirements with solar cells.

Because compared to mobile power plants, the modules are comparatively cheap and have a low weight. But the technology not only offers advantages, but also disadvantages. Because in space, the solar cells are exposed to proton radiation. This partially penetrates deep into the material and thus destroys the structure in the long term.

New solar cell to repair itself in space

As a result, the efficiency of the modules also decreases. However, researchers at the University of Sydney have recently developed a solar cell that is supposed to independently repair possible damage. The basis for this is the material perovskite, which is already traded as a successor to silicon in classic solar systems. Because perovskite is better protected against radiation due to its structure.

The researchers even see another advantage in the material. Because under the influence of heat in the vacuum of space, it should even be possible for the compound to heal itself. This could significantly speed up the development of long-lived satellites.

Self-healing solar cell not yet ready for series production

However, the technology is not yet mature. Although perovskite is relatively easy to produce and inexpensive, several questions remain. The research team would like to clarify this as soon as possible in order to make the solar cells ready for series production.

The new modules could then offer protection against radiation in space. Nevertheless, there are other risks that perovskite cannot do anything about. In orbit, for example, there are always pieces of debris that can hit the satellites. At the same time, a meteorite can destroy the celestial body at any time.

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