QESST Researchers Chair Earth-Abundant Photovoltaic Workshop

Achievement date: 
2014
Outcome/accomplishment: 

Researchers at the NSF-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC) for Quantum Energy and Sustainable Solar Technologies (QESST), which is headquartered at Arizona State University, convened a workshop that brought together leading international experts from academia, national laboratories, and industry in the field to discuss theoretical methods, thin-film deposition techniques, device architecture and fabrication, and commercialization prospects for earth-abundant semiconductors (see figure).

Impact/benefits: 

The workshop served as an important event for the earth-abundant photovoltaics (PV)-research community (including PhD students) to identify priority research areas within the field of earth-abundant PV. The workshop led to a group consensus around specific priority research directions for earth-abundant PV materials.

Explanation/Background: 

The workshop focused on three key areas:

*  The role of theory and simulation to address defects in earth-abundant absorbers, to design and tune optoelectronic properties of new materials, design ideal interface behavior, and identify “show-stoppers” that might inhibit 20% of devices from a given material system;

*  The characteristics of PV-absorber layers to rapidly screen broad classes of materials, and the development of selected materials with high electronic quality;

*  Important research for charge-separation structures to develop tools to characterize interfaces, approaches to accurately measure band offsets and band bending, and methods to tune the atomic composition at interface.