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Assessing Possibilities and Limits for Solar Cells

Professor David Cahen

Weizmann Institute, Israel

11:30 am Monday, 17 May 2010, EN515 (Ground Floor, EN Building), Hawthorn.

Several simple criteria can serve to evaluate and compare the various types of solar cells, most prominently thin film 2nd and 3rd generation ones, to gauge
- how much significant progress can be expected for the various types of solar cells
- if basic bounds, beyond those known today, exist, bounds that may limit such progress.

After formulating such criteria, using them indeed suggests both additional limits and likely prospects.

Prof. David Cahen has had, throughout his career, a keen interest in solar energy conversion. In his atomic-level studies, he explored chemical means to control the electronic and optical properties of materials, studies that led to new insights into the way devices such as solar cells work, what limits them, and ultimately, how to improve them. He was also the co-inventor of a new kind of photovoltaic battery. His current research aims to understand how simple organic molecules and complex biomolecules can work in devices such as solar cells and sensors, and how to improve light-energy use by solar cells.

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