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University of California, Riverside

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September 2007

Professor Alexander Balandin has teamed up with industry and several other universities for research aimed at increasing the efficiency of solar cells based on nanostructured materials. The $1.3 million project, funded by the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) involves engineers from CFDR Corporation in Huntsville, Alabama, and researchers from UC Riverside, University at Buffalo and Rochester Institute of Technology. The research to be carried out in Dr. Balandinís Nano-Device Laboratory (NDL) focuses on the design and optimization of intermediate-band (IB) solar cells, which have been predicted to have an enhanced photovoltaic efficiency (how efficient a device is in converting solar light to energy). The power conversion efficiency of conventional semiconductor solar cells is limited to about 30 percent, which prevents their wide application for commercial power generation. Nanotechnology, utilized for implementing the IB solar cells, has the potential to deliver a substantially higher photovoltaic efficiency. Theoretical models, which are under development in Balandinís group, will be used for the physical-based modeling and design of the semiconductor solar cells. One of the projectís goals is the creation of commercially available software tools for accurate simulation of the performance of solar cells.

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