IIT Researchers Develop Self-Healing Coating Solution for Solar Cells

The innovative solution is designed to repair cracks within solar cells


Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT Bhilai) have developed an innovative self-healing polymeric coating material for photovoltaic applications, which demonstrates the ability to heal cracks spontaneously and offers an accessible and cost-effective solution for self-healing coating materials.

The researchers said the self-healing coating is designed to repair cracks within solar cells in only five minutes.

The self-healing coat material is a polymer called PSt-b-PTEVE, synthesized through a “water tolerant” method known as cationic polymerization. This polymer has the remarkable ability to heal cracks independently, owing to its redox responsiveness, and shows promise for various applications, including as a functional coating.

The ability to self-heal is a widely sought-after characteristic that aims to prolong the lifespan of materials due to the inherent susceptibility of all substances to degradation over time.

To achieve this healing capability at both microscopic and nanoscopic levels, intentional design and development of self-healing materials are necessary.

The study, led by Sanjib Banerjee from the Department of Chemistry, was published in the European Polymer Journal.

The researchers noted that the primary motivation behind this research is solar cells’ critical role in combating climate change by harnessing sunlight to generate electricity without consuming fuel or producing harmful emissions.

However, prolonged exposure to hot and humid environmental conditions can inflict damage on solar cells, hampering their efficiency and performance.

The introduction of self-healing coating material is expected to be a game-changer, as it can prevent crack propagation and system failures, effectively restoring the material and system properties, the researchers said.

Nature offers some fascinating examples of self-healing phenomena, but incorporating them into engineered materials for practical applications comes with significant challenges. Banerjee’s team is dedicated to bridging this gap between natural healing and advanced materials technology.

The simplicity of the coating’s formulation is another major advantage.

The cost-effectiveness and industry-friendly nature of the process bode well for its eventual integration into solar cell manufacturing.

The venture holds the promise of enhancing the reliability and performance of aerospace technology, making it more resilient to environmental stressors.

Recently, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Mandi (IIT Mandi) claimed a breakthrough in producing metal oxide layers for use in advanced architecture silicon solar cells using a cost-effective method.

Scientists at the National Centre for Photovoltaic Research and Education of the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay) claimed to have achieved a power conversion efficiency of more than 26% for a 4 terminal (4T)-silicon perovskite tandem solar cell.