High-performance thin-film photovoltaics: the search for an ideal solar absorber

William Mong Distinguished Lecture by Professor David B. Mitzi
May 7, 2019

Date: May 7, 2019 (Tuesday)

Time: 5:00pm – 6:00pm (Reception at 4:30pm)

Venue: Lecture Theatre A, Chow Yei Ching Building, The University of Hong Kong

Speaker: Professor David B. Mitzi
                  Simon Family Professor
                  Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
                  Professor of Chemistry
                  Duke University

Given the expected world population increase to above the 8 billion level by mid-century and associated ever-increasing energy demand, as well as the requirement to reduce undesirable side effects of burning fossil fuels, there is an acute need for cleaner and more sustainable forms of energy conversion. While the solution to this problem will likely involve a broad portfolio of energy options, the progressive reduction of cost and vast “fuel” supply for photovoltaic (PV) technologies suggests that this pathway is poised to play a vital role in this mix. This talk will focus on one important approach towards more ubiquitous solar energy, thin-film PV, and introduce two particularly promising directions for contemporary materials research in this field – i.e., earth-abundant chalcogenide and halide perovskite absorbers. Key aspects of this story include focus on band gap control and defect engineering approaches, as well as better pathways for materials processing, to enable cost-competitive and high performance devices, which in turn may help to propel thin-film PV into a more dominant position within our energy portfolio.

Professor David Mitzi is the Simon Family Professor at Duke University, with appointments to the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and the Department of Chemistry. He received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Engineering Physics from Princeton University in 1985 and his Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Stanford University in 1990. Prior to joining the faculty at Duke in 2014, Dr. Mitzi spent 23 years at IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center, where his focus was on the search for and application of new electronic materials, including organic-inorganic hybrid perovskites and inorganic materials for photovoltaic, LED, transistor and memory applications. For his final five years at IBM, he served as manager for the Photovoltaic Science and Technology Department, where he initiated and managed a multi-company program to develop a low-cost, high-throughput approach to deposit thin-film chalcogenide-based absorber layers for high-efficiency solar cells. Dr. Mitzi’s current research interests involve making emerging solar energy conversion materials more effective, cost-efficient and competitive for the energy market. He has recently been elected a fellow of the Materials Research Society (MRS) and named a Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researcher (Materials Science).

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All are welcome!