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​With world leaders pledging to “phase down” fossil fuels in favour of green energy sources, the focus is on decarbonisation and renewables.

One area that has seen rapid growth in recent years is the solar energy market. Now, a new generation of hybrid solar cells that has the potential to replace silicone-based solar panels has been identified by scientists.

The team of scientists from Newcastle University, Uppsala University and University of Naples Federico II have discovered a new process using coordination materials that can accelerate the use of low-cost, Earth-abundant materials.

In a paper published in the journal Chem, the researchers have revealed that the new copper system is able to power photovoltaic devices with minimal voltage losses, comparably low reorganisation energies and recombination rates.

“This work proves that fundamental research combining experiments and theory can provide solid scientific grounds to optimise materials and interfaces for renewable energy technologies with real impact on the society," Prof Ana Belén Muñoz-Garcia, study co-lead from University of Naples Federico II, said in a press release.