Devices Program Overview

The Devices and Materials subgroup focuses on developing, prototyping and optimizing a family of new devices. Major directions include:

1. low band-gap PV materials, and
2. nano-scale thermo-electric (TE) devices for broad wavelength spectrum conversion
3. organic photovoltaic devices, integrated with semiconductor PV devices

For example, when PV and TE components are paired, a larger portion of the solar spectrum can be absorbed and converted into electricity. PV materials, like porphyrin films, will become electronically excited by wavelengths in the ultraviolet and visible (UV-vis) light regions due to their conjugated chains and ring structures, and TE materials, like bismuth telluride nanowires, produce electricity from infrared (IR) wavelengths, or heat, due to two materials with very different Seebeck coefficients being in direct contact with one another. Because of the utilization of the IR region, electricity can not only be generated from this solar cell even when the sun is not shining, but also improve the overall efficiency by functioning as a electricity generating heat sink. We will use a combination of the technologies mentioned above will lead CEET to development of new devices and applications, such as smart windows, smart switches and detectors integrated with PV modules, integration with flexible electronics and others.