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Prestigious international grant to Prof. Alex Laikhtman

Israel-Croatia Renewable Energy Grant has been awarded to Prof. Alex Laikhtman from the Physics Department at the Faculty of Sciences.

Prof. Alex Laikhtman
Prof. Alex Laikhtman

Prof. Laikhtman’s research proposal is entitled:
Novel Perovskite Solar Cells with Enhanced Performance Based on Hybrid Halide Perovskite/Transition-Metal Disulfides Nanocomposites

Each of the research teams: the Israeli led by Prof. Alex Laikhtman and the Croatian headed by Prof. Andreja Gajović from the Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering in Ruder Boskovic Institute in Zagreb, Croatia, will receive the amount of €100,000 for three years to conduct advanced research in the field of creating solar cells.

The research proposal was submitted within the framework of the Croatia-Israel agreement on scientific cooperation funded the Ministry of Science and Education of Croatia and the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology of the State of Israel.

11proposals were submitted and only 5 were selected, with HIT being the only institution that is not a university, in the distinguished list alongside the 3 leading universities in Israel: the Technion, the Hebrew University, and the University of Haifa.

Prof. Laikhtman explains: The research is dedicated to assembly and upgrade of solar cells - devices that are powered by solar energy and generate electrical energy (such as panels found in solar farms and on house roofs).

There is a wide range of materials designed to absorb solar radiation and to convert it into electrical energy, among which the family of materials called Halide Perovskites has received significant attention in the field of photovoltaics due to their exceptional optoelectronic properties. These materials demonstrated a great ability to convert solar energy efficiently and economically.

Perovskites serve as a basic component in optoelectronic devices; they have great potential for usage in light detectors in a wide range of wavelengths, for applications in the fields of energy storage, as gas and chemical sensors, and for optimization of water splitting processes where pure hydrogen and oxygen gases are produced by light irradiation.

Halide Perovskites solar cells have high charge mobility and excellent light absorption properties. This family of materials has proven to be very effective in converting energy, making it the subject of extensive research. However, perovskite-based solar cells developed so far suffer from rapid degradation and their performance decreases significantly over time due to exposure to environmental conditions.

The research novelty, according to Prof. Laikhtman, is that perovskite solar cells will be integrated with inorganic nanotubes of tungsten disulfide (WS2) which are produced in HIT in the nanomaterial laboratory headed by Prof. Alla Zack, Dean of the Faculty of Sciences, who serves as an Associated PI in this project.

"Following the novel plasma treatment procedure developed in my previous research, we will integrate the nanotubes in perovskite solar cells to stabilize them and to prevent their degradation. We also intend to enhance these hybrid perovskite-nanotube solar cells by increasing the electrical conductivity of those nanotubes using dopants by implanting small amounts of foreign atoms such as Gallium by the Focused Ion Beam (FIB) method. Thus, we will further improve the performance and efficiency of solar devices based on Halide Perovskites.

The collaboration between Prof. Laikhtman and his colleagues from Croatia started a few months ago within the European COST program (EUROPEAN COOPERATION IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY) which encourages the establishment of initial collaborations in various fields of science and technology. The State of Israel is a full member of this program.

"We are currently passing a difficult and challenging period, this is why international collaborations of this type are particularly important", Prof. Laikhtman summarizes.

Prof. Alex Laikhtman is a senior faculty member in the Physics Department of the Faculty of Sciences. Prof. Laikhtman is the head of the laboratory for materials characterization using innovative methods of microscopy and spectroscopy. He has published over 50 peer-reviewed papers in the fields of advanced materials research, nanoscience, surface chemistry, and physics.

Posted: 06/12/2023