Grant enables researchers to study nanocrystals resistant to radiation in space

Researchers will look at the resistance of hybrid perovskite as a new material to be used in space exploration equipment.

KA ed c1Kannatassen Appavoo, Ph.D., Department of Physics With a growing space sector, there is an increased need to reduce costs and make new missions such as flying solar blimps, powering unmanned aerial vehicles and launching probes to explore exoplanets more economically affordable. Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have been awarded a $16,000 grant from the Alabama Space Grant Consortium under the NASA Alabama EPSCoR Research Seed Grant program to further investigate how to achieve these cost-effective methods, specifically investigating the effectiveness of perovskite.

Space missions conducted by NASA use various devices that are being broken down due to radiation from charged particles, such as incident protons and electrons, or the particle energies that range from near-zero to several hundred million electron volts. The study will look at the effect of radiation on hybrid organic-inorganic perovskite, such as methylammonium lead halides and all-inorganic perovskite like cesium lead halide, and its technological applications that have been proved to be resistant to radiation.

“We want to further understand what material can be integrated into devices for space applications,” said Kannatassen Appavoo, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences. “Since there have been only a handful of studies on this material, our goal is to develop a research program to understand how radiation affects the ultrafast carrier dynamics of hybrid perovskite, an important parameter that dictates the overall performance of various devices like photovoltaics, sensors and detectors.”

With the initial funding from NASA EPSCoR, researchers hope to develop a research program centered around effects of radiation on novel photonic technologies, providing insights about changes in the structure of the active semiconductor and changes in device performance on the microscopic lengthscales and at ultrafast timescales.