Professor Balandin has joined a multi-university team funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) tasked with developing high-efficiency nanostructured photovoltaic cells for use in solar concentrator systems.
The $1 million DOE project funds research at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), UC Riverside, and the NASA Glenn Research Center to develop highly efficient photovoltaic cells for applications in concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) systems. Solar concentrators, such as large mirrors or other devices, concentrate solar light on a small area of highly efficient solar cells; the requirements for solar cells working with a concentrator are very different from conventional ones.
Nano Device Laboratory group has expertise in thermal management of semiconductor devices and nanostructure characterization and optimization of solar cells. The next-generation solar cells will be fabricated at the RIT and NASA Glenn centers and tested in the Nano Device Laboratory. The UCR researchers will also assist with the modeling-based optimization of solar cells and concentrators.
These new CPV systems are expected to allow U.S. companies to replace large areas of expensive crystalline solar cells with cheaper metal and plastic concentrator systems and efficient small-area solar cells.