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Research Van Swinderen Institute

Physics Colloquium, Erik Garnett, AMOLF, Amsterdam

When:Th 12-07-2018 16:00 - 17:00
Where:FSE-Building 5111.0080

Speaker: Erik Garnett
Affiliation: AMOLF, Amsterdam

What can nano really do for solar?

Date: 12 July 2018
Start: 16:00 (Doors open and coffee available at 15:30)
Location: FSE-Building 5111.0080
Host: Maria Loi


Over the past decade there has been extensive research into using nanostructures for solar cells. Although many interesting optical and electrical phenomena have been observed, nanostructured solar cells still have not exceeded (or even reached) the same efficiency level as their bulk counterparts. The goal of this talk is to describe the ways in which nanoscience can theoretically improve solar cells and outline the remaining fundamental and applied research necessary to realize such theoretical gains in practice.

The talk will consist of two parts. First, ways in which nanoscience can help reach the standard Shockley-Queisser efficiency limit (34%) will be discussed. In particular, new methods for making a variety of relevant monocrystalline nanomaterials will be presented along with the accompanying nanophotonic nanoscale contact mechasnisms that improve efficiency. Besides enhancing the intrinsic performance, such monocrystalline materials also present ideal model systems for nanoscale characterization, which can help in identifying and mitigating remaining loss mechanisms. Furthermore, a new characterization technique will be described which allows for fair performance comparison between nanoscale and macroscopic solar cells. Second, concepts for going beyond the 34% efficiency limit will be discussed. These include implementing directional emitting nanostructures that can reduce photon entropy loss as well as new designs for multijunction solar cells that take advantage of the unique properties of nanomaterials.