University of Oklahoma physicists are developing novel technologies with the potential to impact utility-scale energy generation, increase global energy capacity and reduce dependence on fossil fuels by producing a new generation of high efficiency solar cells. The OU team hopes to show that quantum-engineered systems can control thermal losses that restrict the performance of conventional solar cells and harness more of the sun’s energy in practical “hot” carrier solar cells.
Ian Sellers and Michael Santos, professors in the Homer L. Dodge Department of Physics and Astronomy, OU College of Arts and Sciences, will develop “hot” carrier solar cell architectures and investigate the physics driving the operation of these devices. Sellers and Santos have focused their research on narrow-gap heterostructures, demonstrating the promising potential avenue for the practical implementation of “hot” carrier solar cells.
The OU graduate and undergraduate students involved in this research project will develop numerous multi-disciplinary skills in an area of strategic global importance. The students involved also will develop a unique perspective of fundamental research while generating a real appreciation of novel technology development. This research experience will have a significant benefit for students as they pursue a career path in the future.
The National Science Foundation supported this research project with a three-year grant in the amount of $380,000.