The Michigan Engineer News Center

Jinyoung Hwang receives Best Poster Award for research leading to improved solar cells

The researchers succeeded in drastically suppressing the thermal emission rate in GaSb/GaAs quantum dots — resulting in more efficient solar cells.| Short Read
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Jinyoung Hwang, doctoral student in the electrical engineering program, received the best poster award at the 2011 Materials Research Society Fall Meeting, for the research project, Thermal emission in type-II GaSb/GaAs quantum dots and prospects for intermediate band solar energy conversion. Collaborators on the poster were her advisor, Prof. Jamie Phillips, and researchers in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Andrew Martin and Prof. Joanna Millunchick.

Ms. Hwang’s research focuses on engineered type-II quantum structures for enhanced solar energy conversion. In this study, characteristics of GaAsBi/GaAsN superlattice and GaSb/GaAs quantum dots are studied theoretically and experimentally to investigate their potential for improved multi-junction and intermediate band solar cells, respectively.

The researchers succeeded in drastically suppressing the thermal emission rate in GaSb/GaAs quantum dots. This prevents a reduction in the solar cell voltage, which will result in more efficient solar cells.

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This work is supported as part of the University of Michigan Center for Solar and Thermal Energy Conversion (CSTEC), an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

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The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

Mapping quantum structures with light to unlock their capabilities

Rather than installing new “2D” semiconductors in devices to see what they can do, this new method puts them through their paces with lasers and light detectors. | Medium Read