Developing a Quantum Leap for Solar Cells

EPSRC has awarded UCL academics Professor Alwyn Seeds and Professor Huiyun Liu £600,000 for new research to develop low-cost and high-efficiency III-V quantum-dot (QD) solar cells on silicon substrates, in collaboration with Bristol University who will do the modelling and characterisation.


To help combat climate change, the UK has a target to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. This is an enormous task requiring changes to energy generation and supply. To limit the impact on scarce natural resources and the environment, these reductions need to be delivered by providing affordable green energy. This research project will address this very target by developing high-efficiency and low-cost solar cells by growing III-V compound semiconductor self-organised QD structures on cheap and plentiful silicon substrates. The UCL academics will exploit the advantages of both QD technology and germanium-on-silicon substrates to develop both multi-junction solar cell and intermediate band solar cell design. UCL will carry out the epitaxial material growth of III-V on germanium-on-silicon substrates by the state-of-the-art Molecular Beam Epitaxy facility at the department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, and the device fabrication in the London Centre for Nanotechnology.

Professor Huiyun Liu and Professor Alwyn Seeds have been awarded £601,519 from the EPSRC to fund the research. The grant in total is worth around £1 million over 42 months.