Solar cells

Building Smarter Windows

  • By Burcu Ozden
  • 21 February 2018

Paul Leu and his student Sajad Haghanifar, a PhD candidate, developed a new type of glass 1,000 times thinner than a human hair which could potentially used as solar panels for smart windows.

While the solar energy industry is expanding — at an average annual rate of 68 percent from 2006 to 2016, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association — solar panels and solar cells still have an efficiency issue.

Paul Leu said, " Any light that is not being absorbed by your solar cell is decreasing the efficiency of your solar panel," and added “Anything you can do to increase your efficiency is good.”

Leu said that the new glass they developed has advantagous of scattering light energy at different angles, giving the light that does bounce off a better chance to be trapped and converted into useable energy

He added, “With these nanostructures, you can get the reflection rate close to zero.” 

Paul Leu Recieves NSF-CAREER Award for his Work on Flexible Metals

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 27 January 2016

PQI faculty Paul W. Leu is the recipient of the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award, a prestigious award for junior faculty who exemplify outstanding research, teaching, and their integration. The five-year, $500,000 award will support research into the manipulation of metals at the micro- and nanoscale to develop thin yet flexible crystalline silicon for high efficiency, low cost solar cells. 

Paul Leu and Kevin Chen Awarded NSF Grant to Develop Improved Solar Cell Manufacturing

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 14 August 2013

PQI faculty Paul W. Leu and Kevin P. Chen were awarded a $107,498 Early-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER grant) to develop a new process for the scalable laser manufacturing of more efficient solar cells. 

"We're exploring new structures, called photonic crystals, that are at the wavelength scale or smaller to better trap light within the absorbing region of the solar cell," Dr. Leu explains.

Jung-Kun Lee Awarded NSF Grant for Solar Cell Research

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 6 July 2012

Jung-Kun Lee has received a National Science Foundation grant for his research into solar cell energy conversion. The grant, Solid State Dye Sensitized Solar Cells Using Tunable Surface Plasmons of Core-Shell Particles, is $290,724 over three years.  

The objectives of this research are to develop a fundamental understanding the physical interactions among surface plasmons, solar light modulation, and carrier/exciton generation, and to design the novel plasmonic particles (i.e. metal nanoshell) that enhance light absorption capacity of solid dye sensitized solar cells.