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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R023840/1
Title: Carrier Selective Layers: Enabling the True Potential of Nanostructured Photovoltaics
Principal Investigator: Mokkapati, Dr S
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Oxford Instruments Ltd
Department: School of Physics and Astronomy
Organisation: Cardiff University
Scheme: New Investigator Award
Starts: 01 April 2018 Ends: 30 September 2020 Value (£): 279,442
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Optoelect. Devices & Circuits Solar Technology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Energy
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
24 Jan 2018 EPSRC Physical Sciences - January 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
I aim to demonstrate light weight, flexible solar cells with high efficiency to cost ratio using compound semiconductors for niche applications like wearable electronics and un-manned, light weight drones.

High power conversion efficiency in solar cells can be achieved by controlling the (i) light absorption and emission characteristics of the absorber and (ii) separation of photo-generated electron-hole pairs, to generate current. Nanotechnology has emerged as a powerful tool to control the light-semiconductor interaction and nanostructured semiconductors with absorption and emission characteristics suitable for high efficiency solar cells have already been demonstrated. Nanostructured semiconductors also reduce the volume of semiconductor material required for high efficiency solar cells, providing a pathway to light weight and flexible devices.

Charge separation and extraction from these nanostructured semiconductors is currently limiting the efficiency of nanostructured solar cells. Conventionally, a p-n junction is used to separate photo-generated electrons and holes in a solar cell. It is, however, very challenging to form good quality p-n junctions in nanostructures. In this project, I propose a novel mechanism for charge extraction from nanostructures that eliminates the need to form p-n junctions, to achieve the high power conversion efficiencies promised by nanostructured solar cells.

This project will benefit research communities worldwide interested in nanostructured photovoltaics or the third-generation photovoltaic technologies and is the first step towards establishing a new research programme on nanostructured compound semiconductor photovoltaics in the UK.

In addition to uncovering fundamental physics at the nanoscale, this project paves the way towards sustainable and green energy generation by addressing the important issue of efficiency to cost ratio of photovoltaics. The technology developed during this project will generate intellectual property related to nanostructured PV. I will work with Cardiff University's commercial development team and Cardiff University's patent holding company, University College Cardiff Consultants Limited (UC3) to protect any IP resulting from this project. I will work with the recently established Institute for Compound Semiconductors (ICS) and Innovate UK's Advanced Materials, High Value Manufacturing and Compound Semiconductor Catapult (CSC) programmes to transfer the research outcomes to industry, creating technological jobs in the energy sector in the UK.

Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.cf.ac.uk