Scientists have created thin films made from barium zirconium sulfide (BaZrS3) that combine exceptionally strong light absorption with good charge transport — two qualities that make them ideal for applications such as photovoltaics and light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

In solar panels, for example, BaZrS3 films would be much more efficient at converting sunlight into electricity than traditional silicon-based materials with identical thicknesses. This could lower solar energy costs, especially because the new films performed admirably even when they had imperfections.

BaZrS3 belongs to a category of materials known as chalcogenide perovskites, which are nontoxic, earth-abundant compounds. Various chalcogenide perovskites should exhibit useful electronic and optical properties and these predictions have captured the interest of researchers.

The new BaZrS3 films were created using a laser to heat up and vaporize barium zirconium oxide. The vapor was deposited on a sapphire surface, forming a film, and then converted into the final material through a chemical reaction called sulfurization.

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