Title: Solar Energy Conversion Research at IBM
Date: 28 February 2011, 2 p.m.
Abstract: Following an overview of the research activity in Physical Sciences at IBM, related to the physics and technology of information processing and topics related to IBM’s Smarter Planet activities, Supratik Guha will describe in some detail research in three different areas in photovoltaics that are ongoing. The three areas are: (i) thin film solar cells from earth abundant materials, (ii) nanowire based solar cells, and (iii) solar power forecasting. Earth abundant thin films, that can support manufacturing rates of >10-20 GW/yr with readily available materials is an important topic of research. He will describe results that they have in this area within the copper-zinc-tin-sulfide (CZTS) system, focusing on vacuum deposited material. He will describe some results of their work on silicon nanowire photovoltaics, where the benefits are one of enhanced light trapping and, possibly, the ability to have devices that are small enough so that generated carriers can be collected without relying upon minority carrier diffusion. The drawback here has been the detrimental role of surfaces and interfaces that has prevented nanowire solar cells (and other nanostructured solar cells for that matter) from demonstrating high efficiencies. Finally, Supratik will briefly describe some results from a relatively new experimental project where they are trying to predict the solar power production from a solar array on the scale of minutes to an hour by predicting detailed cloud coverage.
Bio: Supratik Guha is the Director of Physical Sciences at IBM Research and in this capacity is responsible for overseeing IBM’s worldwide research in the physical sciences. His technical work, over the past dozen years, has been in the area of new materials for ultra-scaled silicon CMOS technology where he was responsible for some of the key materials used in IBM’s high-k metal gate technology. More recently, his own research work has been on new materials for energy conversion devices and his research interests are in the areas of new materials for logic and energy conversion technologies. He is also an adjunct professor of materials science at Columbia University.