The Michigan Engineer News Center

Kyu-Tae Lee wins Best Poster Award for colorful solar cells

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IMAGE:  Kyu-Tae Lee in front of the Lurie Nanofabrication Facility

Kyu-Tae Lee, a doctoral student in electrical engineering, received a Best Poster Award at the 40th Annual Symposium of the American Vacuum Society (AVS) -Michigan Chapter. The theme of this year’s Symposium was, Thin Films for Energy Storage and Conversion Applications.

Kyu-Tae’s research in solid-state nanotechnology focuses on creating colors by exploiting strong light interaction with nanostructures to replace traditional pigment-based color filters.

Enlargecolored solar cells

His poster described the creation of solar cell device structures that enable attractive multi-colored solar cells that can be used on windows and other interior and exterior surfaces. Kyu-Tae said the research team, led by Prof. Jay Guo, was able to create the transmissive and reflective colored solar cells with incidence angle and polarization insensitive performances. “I investigated the optical aspects of the design,” added Lee, “and performed the optical simulations and measurements of the fabricated devices at various angles of incidence. I am now trying to find a way to improve the power conversion efficiency further and apply a similar strategy to other solar cell material systems.”

The presentation was based on two papers:

  1. Decorative power generating panels creating angle insensitive transmissive colorsNature Scientific Reports 4, 4192 (2014).
  2. “Colored ultra-thin hybrid photovoltaics with high quantum efficiency,” Light: Science & Applications, to be published (2014).

The research was the subject of a University of Michigan press release and MconneX video, and received significant coverage in the media.

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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.

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