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Dr Baohua Jia awarded the Women in Science Fellowship for 2012

Friday September 7 2012

Swinburne University of Technology's and the Centre for Micro-Photonic's Dr Baohua Jia has been awarded the L'Oreal Australian and New Zealand for Women in Science Fellowship for 2012.

Dr Jia has been acknowledged for her contribution to research in developing high efficiency, low cost solar energy by using advanced nanotechnology together with a team of researchers from the Victoria-Suntech Advanced Solar Facility (VSASF) in the Centre for Micro-Photonics.

"I am honoured to receive this award and be recognised by my peers for my part in research and science.

"I share this honour with my colleagues who have worked very hard in developing high efficiency and low cost solar energy that will have a global impact." said Dr Jia.

Conventional solar cells are thick, expensive and cost more than fossil fuel alternatives, while thin-films solar cells are cheaper to run, with just one hundredth of the silicon required.

The creation of thin-film solar cells is met with challenges during production as it is unable to trap enough light to absorb the sun's ultraviolet rays.

As part of the L'Oreal fellowship, Dr. Jia is tackling this challenge by using the combination of small particles of gold and silver with the quantum dots to convert the ultraviolet sunlight efficiently into visible light that can be better absorbed by the thin-film solar cells.

By making the nanaoparticles lumpy, the VSASF team was able to create a dramatic increase in the scattering of light and efficiency of the thin-film solar cells, increasing their overall efficiency by 23 per cent.

Dr Jia says that a further 20 per cent increase is possible if combined with quantum dots. If this target is met, the efficiency of the thin-film solar cells would reach more than 10 per cent making them more attractive for commercial production.

"Swinburne places a high importance on women working in science, and it is fantastic to see this important research recognised," said Swinburne Vice-Chancellor Professor Linda Kristjanson.

"We are incredibly proud of Dr Jia's achievement in winning this Women in Science Fellowship.

She is a wonderful role model for young female scientists and for young girls thinking about a career in science," she said.

Read more about Dr. Jia