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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/N009096/1
Title: Transformational concepts in window electrode design for emerging thin film photovoltaics
Principal Investigator: Hatton, Professor RA
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Centre for Process Innovation Limited Corning Incorporated (International) Dyesol UK Ltd
PV Consulting Ltd
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: University of Warwick
Scheme: EPSRC Fellowship
Starts: 11 April 2016 Ends: 10 April 2020 Value (£): 1,151,002
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Solar Technology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
09 Sep 2015 EPSRC Physical Sciences Fellowships Interview Panel 9, 10 and 11 Sept 2015 Announced
22 Jul 2015 EPSRC Physical Sciences Materials - July 2015 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Photovoltaic (PV) devices convert sunlight directly into electricity and form an increasingly important part of the global renewable energy landscape. Today's PVs are based on conventional semiconductors which are energy-intensive to produce and restricted to rigid flat plate designs. The next generation of PVs will be based on very thin films of semiconductors that can be processed from solution at low temperature, which opens the door to exceptionally low cost manufacturing processes and new application areas not available to today's rigid flat plate PVs, particularly in the areas of transportation and buildings integration. The emerging generation of thin film PVs also offer exceptional carbon dioxide mitigation potential because they are expected to return the energy used in their fabrication within weeks of installation. However, this potential can only be achieved if the electrode that allows light into these devices is low cost and flexible, and at present no electrode technology meets both the cost constraint and technical specifications needed. This proposal seeks to address this complex and inherently interdisciplinary challenge using three new and distinct approaches based on the use of nano-structured films of metal less than 100 metal atoms in thickness. The first approach focuses on the development of a low cost, large area method for the fabrication of metal film electrodes with a dense array of holes through which light can pass unhindered. The second approach seeks to determine design rules for a new type of 'light-catching' electrode that interacts strongly with the incoming light, trapping and concentrating it at the interface with the semiconductor layer inside the device responsible for converting the light into electricity. The final approach is based on combining ultra-thin metal films with ultra-thin films of transparent semiconductor materials to achieve double layer electrodes with exceptional properties resulting from spontaneous intermixing of the two thin solid films. The UK is a global leader in the development of next generation PVs with a growing number of companies now focused on bringing them to market, and so the outputs of the proposed programme of research has strong potential to directly increase the economic competitiveness of the UK in this young sector and would help to address the now time critical challenge of climate change due to global warming.

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Organisation Website: http://www.warwick.ac.uk