The RAVE Lab has the opportunity to work with a group of researchers from the University of New Mexico on a project that will develop a new way to produce solar cells using nanotechnology, as part of a grant awarded by the National Science Foundation. The research on this new technology could translate into more cost-effective solar cells that can be adopted by businesses and the general public.

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There has been a rapid growth in the number of installed photovoltaic solar energy systems in recent years. This number will continue to increase, making it essential to create an efficient and cost-effective solar cell. Researchers at the University of New Mexico are developing new solar cells. Their approach is to make the cells more effective at trapping sunlight by using nanoscale corrugations with controlled symmetry. They are also developing the manufacturing processes to integrate the nanoscale structures into solar cells. This development increases the amount of light that is trapped in the solar cells, reducing the material weight and cost of manufacturing. This will make solar cells lighter, easier to transport and install, less expensive, and optimal for further implications of solar energy.

The RAVE Lab will be responsible for promotion and education about the solar photovoltaic technology. The lab will create many projects for this purpose, including immersive interactive visualizations of the scientific concepts in the project for use of investors and the public.

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The project, “Scalable Surface Corrugation of Silicon Surfaces for Enhanced Light Trapping Solar Cells,” is part of the Scalable Nanomanufacturing Award program through the NSF, which has the goal of translating the science of nanotechnology into products that directly benefit society. The team members on the project are Nick Flor, Sang Eon Han, Steven Brueck, and Randall Schunk. The project will run from Sept 1, 2016 through August 31, 2020.

Click here to view UNM’s article on the Grant Awarded.