Lead halides join the top optoelectronic league

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Science  25 Mar 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6280, pp. 1401
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf4603

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In any solar cell that begins to approach the theoretical limits of performance, an intense internal luminescence photon gas must be present (see the figure) (1). On page 1430 of this is sue, Pazos-Outón et al. (2) provide evidence for such an internal photon gas in lead halide photovoltaic cells. These materials thus have properties similar to those of GaAs and have the potential to be among the top-performing solar cell materials. This is scientifically remarkable, because these compounds are the first high-quality halide semiconductors. The materials show promise for photovoltaics, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), laser refrigeration, thermophotonics, and a host of other major optoelectronic applications.