Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science - Materials Science

Materials Research Lecture

Friday April 14, 2017 1:00 PM

Nanoscience and nanophotonics for improved solar energy conversion

Speaker: Erik Garnett, Nanoscale Solar Cells Group, AMOLF Institute, Amsterdam
Location: Watson 104

Abstract: Nanostructured materials have dimensions on the order of the wavelength of light, which leads to exceptionally strong light-matter interactions. Such nanophotonic effects can in principle be used to increase solar cell efficiency by increasing absorption, reducing entropic loss and reducing non-radiative recombination. Despite this application potential, fundamental understanding of solar energy conversion in nanophotonic systems is still in its infancy - the theoretical limits are unknown or misunderstood, meaningful performance metrics are absent and even basic characterization (absorption, internal quantum efficiency, photoluminescence quantum yield) has not been conducted in many cases. This talk will discuss the theoretical limits as well as quantitative losses (placed on an absolute thermodynamic scale) for nanophotonic solar cells and in particular compare these to bulk counterparts. It will also present a new bottom-up method for making monocrystalline thin-films with arbitrary nanopatterns and discuss the opportunities for nanoscience to push solar conversion efficiency far beyond current state-of-the-art.

More about the Speaker: Erik Garnett received his BS in chemistry from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (2004) and his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in Chemistry (2009) under the direction of Professor Peidong Yang. He then moved to Stanford University for postdoctoral research in the Materials Science and Engineering department with Professors Mark Brongersma, Yi Cui and Mike McGehee. In 2012, Erik joined the faculty of the AMOLF institute in Amsterdam to help launch a new research direction related to nanomaterials and nanophotonics for solar energy conversion.  His "Nanoscale Solar Cells" group studies fundamental aspects of synthesis, materials characterization and device integration of nanomaterials with the aim of increasing the efficiency and reducing the cost of solar energy conversion.  Erik received an ERC starting grant from the European Union for this work.


**Pizza will be served in the Watson Lobby at 12:30pm.

Series Materials Research Lecture Series

Contact: Jennifer Blankenship at 626-395-8124