Energy Research Area: Modeling, simulation and technology design for silicon and polymer photovoltaics
We study both silicon and polymer photovoltaics, using integrated process, optical and device modeling to both understand fundamental limits of performance and to design technologies to minimize cost, while maximizing efficiency and reliability. Silicon is currently the dominant material for photovoltaics, with more than 90% of the market. In order to continue to reduce cost and improve performance of silicon solar cells, it is essential to understand how extended defects and impurities affect performance. This understanding enables the development of high efficiency cells using low cost materials and processes. Organic photovoltaics currently have substantially lower efficiencies than Si, but have tremendous potential for very low cost production and broad application due to possibility of roll-to-roll processing on flexible substrates. Our work on polymer photovoltaics is in collaboration with faculty in MSE and Chemistry. Specific issues we are investigating include novel optical engineering schemes and structure optimization to increase exciton generation, use of thin interfacial dipole layers modify band offsets, and the impact of nanostructure of "bulk heterojunction" layers to simultaneously enhance exciton dissociation and carrier extraction.
Record last updated on November 28th 2011 PST.