“Electrical measurements during the flight and the evaluation after recovery of the rocket showed that perovskite and organic solar cells can achieve their potential in terms of expected performance in orbit height,” reports Professor Müller-Buschbaum. “Our measurements are therefore of great scientific value.” The solar cells also generated electrical energy under diffuse incidence of light. “Cells turned away from the sunlight, which received only sparse lighting exclusively from the earth during the flight, still supplied electricity,” says Reb.
Due to their much thinner thickness, the new solar cells could therefore also be used in much dimmer light, for example on missions to the outer solar system on which the sun is too weak for conventional space solar cells. According to DLR material scientist Andreas Meyer, “it would not be the first time that innovations are first established as space technologies but go on to be used around the world in other sectors. One reason for this is probably the very strict requirements that space places on all technical components.” (Press Release: TUM Corporate Communications Center)
The research project received funding from the DFG German research association as part of the e-conversion cluster of excellence, from the Alberta / Technical University of Munich International Graduate School for Functional Hybrid Materials (ATUMS), and as part of the Solar Technologies Go Hybrid (SolTech) Bavarian Research Association TUM.solar project.
Lennart K. Reb, Michael Böhmer, Benjamin Predeschly, Sebastian Grott, Christian L. Weindl, Goran I. Ivandekic, Renjun Guo, Christoph Dreißigacker, Roman Gernhäuser, Andreas Meyer, and Peter Müller-Buschbaum: Perovskite and Organic Solar Cells on a Rocket Flight. Joule (2020), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joule.2020.07.004
Prof. Dr. Peter Mueller-Buschbaum (right) and Lennart Reb (left) in the laboratories of the Professorship of Functional Materials at the Technical University of Munich with the payload module “Organic and Hybrid Solar Cells In Space” (OHSCIS) in their hands. (Wei Chen / TUM)