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About

  • Zimmerman
  • Wafer load
  • MOVPE
  • NPRL
  • reactor glow

The world demand for, and consumption of, energy is dramatically increasing, with an increasing demand for renewable non-fossil based sources of electricity. As well, there is an ever-growing demand for increased power and sophistication in the satellite systems orbiting our planet, driven by our increasing reliance on high speed communication and data links. The conversion of light from the sun into electrical energy, using photovoltaics, is one avenue that can be explored to meet these challenges both on the earth and in space.

Our research program opens new and exciting directions in the discovery of advanced materials and nanostructures to harvest energy. Our projects aim to increase photovoltaic power conversion efficiency and/or reduce materials costs and consumption through the use of nanoscale and novel materials. Our activities encompass materials synthesis, device fabrication, material and device modeling, as well as characterization both at the electrical and materials level. The team’s specific expertise lies in vapor phase epitaxy (VPE) of III-V photovoltaic devices and nanostructures, novel photovoltaic structure growth and design and all forms of photovoltaic characterization and simulation.

The outcome of our work could advance the state-of-the-art in device efficiency, lower the cost of materials and lead to new discovery in the conversion of light to electrical energy using photovoltaic devices.

Mission

The mission of our research group is to accelerate scientific breakthroughs in the discovery of nanoscale materials and structures that will advance the frontier of the conversion of light to electricity. Our focus is new materials synthesis, solar device fabrication, device modeling and simulation, materials and space radiation effects characterization, and demonstrating proof-of-principle of devices that will deliver a major boost to the world’s pursuit of innovative and transformative energy conversion products.

Vision

The vision of our lab is to elevate the vast, and essentially free, solar energy resource to a viable and sustainable alternative to fossil fuels, and at the same time provide higher density and longer life sources of power to the space power community. We will do this by developing new paradigms for photovoltaic conversion that enable use of highly efficient materials, at lower cost and in ways that have not yet been attempted.

Objectives

  • Develop photovoltaics with higher power conversion efficiency
  • Identify methods for reduction of cost in III-V solar cells using low cost deposition techniques and alternative engineered substrates
  • Investigate new photovoltaics designs and paradigms (intermediate bands, tandems and hot carriers)
  • Synthesis of new (novel) materials for tandem photovoltaic devices
  • Innovate photovoltaic designs for the space environment (radiation hardening, temperature effects and long term reliability)
  • Train the next generation of photovoltaic engineers and scientists at both the graduate and undergraduate level
  • Invent and develop knowledge of how to use our energy resources wisely and efficiently