Next generation photovoltaics for widespread clean energy from the sun
A new generation of women scientists prepared to tackle technical challenges in creative ways
Next generation photovoltaic devices with cascade energy layers, quantum dot semiconductors and tandem structures
State of the art solar cell fabrication equipment used by researchers across the Five College Area
Ground breaking student work published in scientific journals
Renewables are a stunning success story. Both solar and wind have grown faster than Apple since 2003. Unfortunately, they started at a small fraction of the electricity mix and it will likely take at least 20 years until they reach a significant fraction of the mix. Without a World War II scale mobilization effort, the industry can not grow at a faster rate. And the current rate is not fast enough to avoid catastrophic climate change.
Crystalline silicon modules can take two days to manufacture, but flexible roll-to-roll solar cells could be manufactured in a couple of hours. Imagine rolling out a large lightweight canvas of solar cells in minutes rather than spending days laborious attaching bulky panels to your roof. Picture your collapsable umbrella that you might carry with you on a rainy day. It is lightweight, can be taken anywhere, takes up almost no space, and expands easily on demand. That’s exactly what we need for solar energy collection. Once we crack the flexibility challenge, the possibilities are endless. Removing the need for protective glass and aluminum framing is critical.
Compared to other major sources of energy, research into photovoltaics has received little funding, and yet electricity from solar is now cheaper than coal, natural gas and nuclear across most of the US. We’ve only glossed the surface in the search for materials that could produce electricity from light. Watch the video to the right to see our quantum dot synthesis.
Watch the video to the left to hear about research in the lab and how solar energy can make fossil fuels obsolete.