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Durham University

Durham Energy Institute

Past Events

Find out about some of the previous events held by Durham Energy Institute:

Thin-film solar cells

30th June 2016, 13:00 to 14:00, E245, School of Engineering & Computing Sciences, Dr Budhika Mendis

The solar energy reaching the Earth in one hour is larger than the total energy consumed globally in an entire year. Photovoltaics or solar cells harness this energy by converting it into electricity. Currently silicon-based solar cells
dominate the market (>80%). However, this presents a challenge when competing with cheaper fossil fuels, since silicon is a weak absorber of light, so that the larger material volume contributes more than half the cost.

To overcome this ‘thin-film’ technology, based on more strongly light absorbing materials, is being developed. Although the technology has been successfully commercialised to some extent, there are a number of efficiency limitations imposed by the physics and chemistry of these materials that need to be overcome before it can fully replace silicon. In this talk I will review these limitations and describe some of the research being done at Durham.

Budhika Mendis is a lecturer in the Dept of Physics, service manager for the Faculty of Science Electron Microscopy Facility and Mid-Career Fellow in Durham Energy Institute. His research interests are in electron microscopy, with applications to thin-film solar cell materials.

Contact for more information about this event.