Engineering Defects to Enable Cost-Effective Solar Cells

David Fenning - University of California, San Diego

Wednesday November 4, 2015, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m

SME, Room 248


ABSTRACT: To achieve near-term terawatt scale solar power, significant innovation in solar cell technology is required to improve efficiency while simultaneously reducing cost. In the first part of my talk, I will discuss a multi-scale characterization approach to understand how nanoscale defect behavior– even at impurity concentrations as low as part per billion and below – dictates the macroscale electronic performance in today’s silicon solar cells. By quantifying the defect kinetics we observe, I will demonstrate how we can use defect simulation to guide the material’s processing from a wafer to a completed cell. Finally, translating these learnings to the emerging class of organic-inorganic lead halide perovskites, I will share insights from our recent synchrotron-based X-ray fluorescence nanoprobe investigations of chemical heterogeneity in perovskite solar cells. By identifying and controlling device-limiting defects in the bulk or at interfaces, we can systematically improve the integration of state-of-the-art materials into high-efficiency, low-cost solar cells.

BIO: Dr. David P. Fenning is currently an Assistant Professor in the NanoEngineering Department at the University of California, San Diego.  After completing his Ph.D. in solar cell defect engineering at MIT, he worked as an R&D consultant at the start-up silicon wafer company, 1366 Technologies Inc. He returned to MIT as an MIT/Battelle postdoctoral associate to investigate photoelectrochemistry for solar-to-fuel energy conversion. He joined the Nanoengineering department in 2015, where his group focuses on designing materials and architectures for solar energy conversion and storage.

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