ERC Hosts International Characterization and Modeling Workshop Addressing Solar-Cell Technologies

Achievement date: 
2013
Outcome/accomplishment: 

In May 2012 the NSF-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC) for Quantum Energy and Sustainable Solar Technologies (QESST), which is headquartered at Arizona State University (ASU), hosted 49 people from ten countries for the International Characterization and Modeling of Solar Cells (CMSC) Workshop. The attendees ranged from first-year graduate students to professors and experts in the field. In all, 14 universities and four companies were represented at the workshop.

Impact/benefits: 

The Workshop, organized by QESST, brought students and experts from around the world to develop best practices and to provide stakeholders with opportunities to learn from world-leading experts. The Workshop demonstrated the values of closer relationships between groups focused on processing, characterizing, and modeling in academia and industry and facilitated the understanding of tradeoffs involved in producing and operating new solar cells and designing future devices.

Explanation/Background: 

Photovoltaics (PV) is cost competitive in a number of markets, but advances in cell technology are necessary to spread PV systems worldwide and reach terawatt scale. Leaping ahead in PV technologies requires strategies for facilitating rapid implementation of advanced-device structures (e.g., selective emitters and rear-point contacts). Integrating new processing techniques and materials, such as laser doping and aluminum-oxide surface passivation, into mainstream production requires innovations in modeling and characterization. In many cases, the training and knowledge necessary for such improvements is dispersed among different groups and research areas.

In bringing these different groups and research areas together, the CMSC Workshop was designed it to reach two main goals: (1) develop best practices for measuring material and device parameters necessary for device simulations, and (2) provide stakeholders with opportunities to learn from leading experts in the simulation of solar cells as they apply the measured parameters in a device simulator. The workshop went beyond typical conferences by providing a hands-on experience with the latest tools and opportunities to work with tool experts on characterization and modeling issues.