Bruce Clemens and Alberto Salleo, materials science and engineering

This research investigates ion-beam assisted deposition (IBAD) of textured templates that can be used to make efficient crystalline-Si thin-film solar cells. The idea behind this approach is that ion beams can be used to selectively determine the crystal orientation of the deposited crystalline films. By means of this technique, one could grow a polycrystalline film with well-aligned grains and therefore “smoother” grain-to-grain interfaces. As a result, the charges generated within the light-absorbing thin-film would undergo much fewer recombination processes at the grain boundaries and the overall conversion efficiency of the photovoltaic cell would be substantially improved.