Pablo Gila Herranz wins the 2nd Prize of the Mondragon University awards for his Master Thesis

Published: November 23, 2023

The MONDRAGON Corporation launched the second edition of the TFG-TFM MONDRAGON Sariak 2023 Awards.

CFM predoctoral researcher Pablo Gila Herranz won the 2nd prize in the Fagor Taldea category for energy-climate transformation for his master thesis work developed under the supervison of Ikerbasque profesor Felix Fernández Alonso and Kacper Druzbicki, from the Quantum Beams and Sustainable Materials group of CFM, in the framework of the Nanoscience master of UPV/EHU.

The awards ceremony took place last Friday, November 17th at the kursaal in donostia with the presence of the director of Mondragon Unibertsitatea and various personalities from the business world.

Searching alternatives is solar panels by understanding the perovskite´s destabilization mechanism

The environmental impact of fossil fuels has become more than evident in recent decades. Climate change poses a threat to the planet and human civilization, urging the need to move away from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy sources. Conventional solar cells have given good results in terms of efficiency and stability, but the high cost of the materials is holding back the widespread use of solar energy, as these cells need to be manufactured with ultrapure metallic silicon, melted at over 1400 °C. This is a very expensive process that consumes high amounts of energy, and new cheaper and more efficient alternatives are needed to reduce the price of solar panels, with the aim of promoting the rapid large-scale widespread use of solar energy. One of the most popular alternatives is solar panels made of hybrid perovskites, which already have high energy efficiency and are very cheap to manufacture; however, these materials degrade rapidly under humid or hot conditions, under a currently unknown structural destabilization mechanism. In this work, a novel methodology is developed by means of computational simulation techniques, subsequently comparing the results with experimental measurements of inelastic neutron scattering.

This methodology has allowed not only to determine the most suitable computational calculation methods for the study of these materials, but also to obtain a first image of the molecular orientations that lead to their structural destabilization, opening a new path for the understanding of this destabilization mechanism, a necessary preliminary step for the large-scale implementation of perovskite-based solar devices.