You are here

Energy Seminar with Mike McGehee: Emerging High-Efficiency Low-Cost Solar Cell Technologies

The dramatic decrease in price of silicon solar cells over the last 5 years has allowed the solar industry to grow at an impressive rate, but has also led to the demise of many solar cell startup companies that were developing next-generation technologies. Many believe that photovoltaic modules will need to cost less than $0.50 per watt and have power conversion efficiency > 25% to compete with fossil fuel power plants on a large scale. While it is likely that conventional silicon solar cells will reach this cost target, it will be challenging for them to reach the efficiency target. Some of the promising approaches that will be discussed involve lifting off thin single crystal solar cells from a wafer that can be reused. Others involve better understanding what causes recombination and polycrystalline thin films so that substantially better thin-film solar cells can be made. One of the most promising, yet not heavily researched, approaches is to make tandem solar cells using materials that function well even when they are polycrystalline and defective. Recent advances with hybrid perovskite semiconductors and their potential use in tandems will be emphasized.

Michael D. McGehee is a Professor in the Materials Science and Engineering Department, Director of the Center for Advanced Molecular Photovoltaics at Stanford University and a Senior Fellow of the Precourt Institute for Energy. His research interests are patterning materials at the nanometer length scale, semiconducting polymers and solar cells. He has taught courses on nanotechnology, nanocharacterization, organic semiconductors, polymer science and solar cells. He received his undergraduate degree in physics from Princeton University and his PhD degree in Materials Science from the University of California at Santa Barbara, where he did research on polymer lasers in the lab of Nobel Laureate Alan Heeger. He won the 2007 Materials Research Society Outstanding Young Investigator Award and has been ranked by Reuters as the 11th most influential materials scientist in the world. He is a technical advisor to Next Energy, PLANT PV, Plextronics and Sinovia. His students have founded four solar cell and one transparent electrode startup companies.



Monday, March 3, 2014. 04:15 PM


NVIDIA Auditorium, Huang basement


Precourt Institute for Energy




Free and open to all