Why CRSP?

“We are proud to be founding members because we get to work directly with the brightest and best minds in the industry.”

“CRSP is good forum for us to interact and learn about local research on the front range.”

“By networking and sharing research progress, we bridge the gap between basic science research and the applied commercialization of products that can be developed from the knowledge gained by this research.”

"We are excited to learn about and network with those in CRSP involved in cutting edge solar research."

“Our membership in CRSP is just what we were looking for to help accelerate technical and product development.”

“The introduction to industry as an option for a career and the interaction with the members from industry was enough to convince me to participate in CRSP again.”

Research

Staff from the four Collaboratory Institutions lead the research efforts of the Center for Revolutionary Solar Photoconversion (CRSP) to develop technologies that substantially impact global solar energy utilization. The long-term goal of the CRSP is to produce electricity and solar fuels at costs competitive with energy produced from coal. CRSP researchers see these technologies focusing on the following three categories:

  • Electricity Production (Photovoltaics): The photoconversion processes yield electricity, as in solid-state photovoltaic solar cells based on bulk semiconductor p-n junctions, but they also include technologies based on the absorption of solar photons in molecular or polymeric chromophores, or in semiconductors in contact with electrochemical redox systems.
  • Photoconversion into Liquid and Gaseous Fuels: These technologies involve a one-step direct process where the fuel (e.g., hydrogen, hydrocarbons, or alcohols) is the initial product of a direct photoelectrochemical, photochemical, or photobiological process driven by solar photons.
  • Novel Nanostructures and Advances in Nanoscience: These technologies have already played and will continue to play a major role in the science of third-generation solar photon conversion.

The areas of research being pursued include photovoltaics (inorganic and organic), photophysics, photoelectrochemistry, photochemistry, photobiology and nanoscience.

Latest Research

CSM: Adele Tamboli, Eric Toberer, and Mark Lusk

Silicon in the clathrate structure (Si136) is an alternative allotrope of Si based on an open-framework cage structure.  Si136 has a wide, direct band gap (1.9 eV) and can be alloyed with Ge to achieve band gaps in the 0.6-1.9 eV range; thus, both single junction and multijunction devices can be envisioned using the same material system. We have synthesized pure Si136 as well as SixGe1-x alloys and have shown band gap tuning as predicted by theory.

CSM: Corinne Packard
NREL: John Perkins, David Ginley, Joseph Berry, Paul Ndione, Ajaya Sigdel

Exploration of transparent conducting oxides (TCOs) for photovoltaics largely focuses on achieving high conductivity while maintaining optical transparency. In addition to these electronic and optical properties, the mechanical properties of these films are also important for two main reasons: (1) reliability concerns including cell failure can occur due to delamination of the TCO and (2) the desire for thin, flexible and bendable photovoltaics requires the materials to undergo large strains without compromising the efficiency of the cell.

CSM: Ning Wu

This project develops a novel flow coating process that combines with electric field to create plasmonic nanostructures from colloidal silver particles. Currently, there is great interest in thin film and third generation solar cells since they can be fabricated with potentially lower cost and less material. Efficient light trapping is, however, critical in those physically "thin" photovoltaics. Theoretical studies suggested periodic nanostructures of metal particles for enhanced light absorption and photocurrent due to surface plasmon excitations and scattering.

CSM: Tom Furtak, Reuben Collins, P. Craig Taylor

NREL: Matt Beard

Hydrogenated nanocrystalline silicon (nc-Si:H) is an emerging thin-film photovoltaic material that combines advantages of crystalline silicon (c-Si), like high carrier mobility, with less expensive production methods of amorphous silicon (a-Si:H). The nc-Si:H films studied here are comprised of monodisperse and nonaggregated prolate spheroid-shaped silicon nanocrystals (NCs), with a 20 nm long axis and a 6-nm diameter, embedded in an a-Si:H matrix.

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