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Hybrid Perovskite Bulk Photovoltaic Effect Device

Stage: Development

Perovskite photovoltaics are a new class of light absorbers with exceptional and unparalleled progress in solar power performance. A perovskite is any material with a specific ABX3 crystal structure. In photovoltaic applications, the A cation can be either organic, inorganic, or hybrid in composition. The B component is typically a metal cation such as lead, and X is a halide such as iodine or bromine. Work on solar cells using perovskite materials has advanced rapidly as a result of the material’s excellent light absorption, charge-carrier mobilities, and lifetimes – resulting in high device efficiencies with low-cost, industry-scalable technology. While the potential for perovskite photovoltaic devices is high, commercialization will require overcoming other challenges relating to material stability, efficiency, and environmental compatibility.

NREL researchers have developed novel bulk photovoltaic effect (BPE) perovskite device architecture that leverages their identification of MAPbI3 – as demonstrated through Rayleigh analysis and piezoresponse force microscopy (PFM) results – as a ferroelectric material with nanoscale domain ordering. This novel BPE perovskite device architecture comprises a single crystal of organic-inorganic MAPbI3 that has an oriented dipole induced through application of an external electric field.  In addition, the resulting device facilitates charge separation that is not reliant upon a p-n junction and has a 2.9 mV increase in the short-circuit current over a typical single crystal MAPbI3 devices.  Moreover, because BPE devices are capable of generating voltages greater than their bandgaps, this architecture has the potential to significantly increase the power conversion efficiency of perovskite photovoltaic devices.

This technology is within the Device Architecture category of NREL’s perovskite portfolio. For further information regarding NREL’s broader perovskite portfolio, please visit NREL’s Perovskite Portfolio website.

The Device Architecture category comprises new perovskite solar cell device layouts, such as interdigitated back-contact perovskite solar cell devices, that capitalize on the unique properties of the perovskite layer to create low-cost devices with improved efficiency and reliability.

For more information, contact Bill Hadley at Bill.Hadley@nrel.gov

ROI 16-133

Applications and Industries

  • Perovskites
  • Bulk Photovoltaic Effect Devices
  • Photovoltaics


  • Low-cost device architecture
  • Does not rely on junctions for charge separation
  • Stable ferroelectric domains
  • Increased short-circuit current and voltage