Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Queen's University
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Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy
Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Sustainable Materials for Next-Generation Solar Cells

Prof. Ian Hill
Physics and Atmospheric Science, Dalhousie University

Thursday, January 17, 2013
10:30 AM @ Stirling 501

Abstract:

Many next-generation solar technologies utilize toxic and/or scarce materials, such as Cd, Te, Pt, Ru, Ga and In. In many cases, the amount of a material required to generate a significant fraction of our energy requirements exceeds its natural abundance by many orders of magnitude. Many researchers are therefore pursuing alternative technologies that use earth-abundant elements. At Dalhousie University we have been pursuing technologies that are inherently sustainable, such as organic/inorganic hybrid solar cells, where only plentiful elements, such as Ti, Zn, Sn, O, C, S and Al are used, and modifying existing technologies, such as dye-sensitized solar cells, by replacing components utilizing scarce materials, such as Pt catalysts, with structures composed of abundant materials, such as vertically-aligned carbon nanotubes. Our recent progress in these areas will be reviewed and discussed in the context of competing solar cell technologies.