Home » Members » Solar Energy

News and Press


Fall 2017


Prof. Rakesh Agrawal received the Alpha Chi Sigma Award for Chemical Engineering Research during the 2017 AIChE National Meeting.


Swapnil Deshmukh, Zheyu Jiang, Radhakrishna Tumbalamgooty, Taufik Ridha, and Parham Mobed presented their works during the 2017 AIChE Annual Meeting.


Swapnil Deshmukh is recognized at the Chemical Engineering GSO Graduate Research Symposium for Best Poster in the Materials and Nanotechnology Category

Summer 2017


Swapnil Deshmukh and Ryan Ellis attend the Hands on Photovoltaic Experience (HOPE) educational conference and present their work on solution processed CIGSSe


Prof. Agrawal’s Sustainable Full Earth Concept Recognized in News Article from DNA


Dr. Rakesh Agrawal awarded NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) funding for graduate education in STEM fields


Scott McClary and Joseph Andler’s paper titled “Solution-Processed Copper Arsenic Sulfide Thin Films for Photovoltaic Applications” is published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry C


Joseph Andler presents a poster at the 2017 Crystal Growth and Assembly Gordon Research Conference entitled ” Luzonite Nanoparticle to Enrgaite Grain Polymorphic Transition for Thin-film Photovoltaics”


Taufik Ridha presents a poster at the 2017 EFRC-Hub-CMS PI Meeting entitled ” Systems-Level Molecular Mapping of Biomass-derived Molecules to Target Products”


Scott McClary is nominated for the Best Student Presentation Award at the 2017 PVSC


Scott McClary gives a talk at the 2017 Photovoltaic Specialist Conference in Washington DC titled, “Fabrication of Copper Arsenic Sulfide Thin Films from Nanoparticles for Application in Solar Cells”


Solar Energy

Graduate Students

Alumni

Graduate Students

 

Joseph Andler

Research Interests

The motivation behind my research is to develop and/or enhance sustainable energy technologies, especially solar. In general, I am interested in understanding grain nucleation, growth, and facets in order to engineer improved thin film devices. I hope to understand these mechanisms in the context of novel PV materials.

Awards and Honors

  • Purdue University Ross Fellow
  • Phi Beta Kappa member
  • Marietta College Rickey Scholar

Publications

  • S.A. McClary, J. Andler, C.A. Handwerker, R. Agrawal, Solution-processed copper arsenic sulfide thin films for photovoltaic applications, J. Mater. Chem. C. 5 (2017) 6913–6916. doi:10.1039/C7TC01920C.

Educational Background

2011-2015, B.S. Physics, Marietta College

Contact Information

jandler@purdue.edu

Top

 

Essam AlRuqubah

Research Interests

My research interests are in nanocrystal-based approaches to develop low-cost photovoltaic devices, I’m also interested in investigating new and novel earth-abundant materials that can potentially be good candidates for PV devices. My research also involves optoelectronic characterization of solar cell devices.

Awards and Honors

Kuwait University – Certificate of Academic Excellence

Educational Background

2010-2014, B.Sc. Chemical Engineering, Kuwait University – Kuwait City

Contact Information

ealruqob@purdue.edu

Top

David Rokke

Research Interests

My research focuses on the design and optimization of molecular precursor inks for the fabrication of high-efficiency Copper-Indium-Gallium-Selenium (CIGS) solar cells.  Specifically, I’m working on more environmentally friendly processes that minimize or eliminate the use of hazardous materials in order to create a system that could be more easily scaled to an industrial process with the aim of reducing photovoltaic manufacturing costs.

Awards and Honors

  • University of Minnesota Twin Cities – University Honors Program
  • University of Minnesota Twin Cities – Maroon and Gold Leadership Award

Publications

Educational Background

2012-2016, B.S. Chemical Engineering, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, Latin Honors

Contact Information

drokke@purdue.edu

Top

 

Swapnil Deshmukh

Swapnil Deshmukh

Research Interests

My research interest involves discovering a methodology to manufacture solar cells with higher efficiency, low cost of manufacturing and environment friendly chemical system. Currently I am working on nanocrystal and quantum dots synthesis in which I am trying to come up with a novel and benign chemistry for synthesizing nanocrystals of various systems which will make the idea of roll to roll solar cell processing more feasible.

Awards and Honors

  • Bayer Scholar for 2013-2014
  • IIChE Design Project Report Award for 2014-2015

Educational Background

2011-2015, B.Chem.Engg, Institute of Chemical Technology Mumbai, India

Contact Information

sdeshmu@purdue.edu

Top

 

Ryan Ellis

Ryan Ellis

Research Interests

In my research I investigate methods to create highly efficient, low cost, solution processed thin film photovoltaic devices. Solution processing is a promising method of device fabrication which forgoes typical high vacuum processes. As such, solution processing can allow for roll to roll fabrication of solar cells, significantly bringing down the cost of manufacturing. Currently I am developing methods to create molecular precursors to fabricate Cadmium Telluride solar cells.

Awards and Honors

  • University of Wisconsin – Madison, Crosby Award
  • Notre Dame Connect Undergraduate Research Initiative Grant

Publications

  • Optimizing AlF3 atomic layer deposition using trimethylaluminum and TaF5: Application to high voltage Li-ion battery cathodes Jackson, David H. K. and Laskar, Masihhur R. and Fang, Shuyu and Xu, Shenzhen and Ellis, Ryan G. and Li, Xiaoqing and Dreibelbis, Mark and Babcock, Susan E. and Mahanthappa, Mahesh K. and Morgan, Dane and Hamers, Robert J. and Kuech, Thomas F., Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology A, 34, 031503 (2016)

Educational Background

2011-2015, B.S. Chemical and Biological Engineering, B.S. Chemistry, University of Wisconsin – Madison

Contact Information

ellis83(at)purdue.edu

Top

 

Xian Yi Hu

Research Interests

My research involves investigation of cost effective solution processed thin film solar cells regarding band gap engineering between the p-type and n-type materials,  as well as developing novel absorber materials in TiO2 architecture based photovoltaic devices.

Publications

  • Zhang, S. Cho, D. G. Lim, X. Hu, E. A. Stach, C. A. Handwerker and R. Agrawal Metal-metal chalcogenide molecular precursors to binary, ternary and quaternary metal chalcogenide thin films for electronic devices. Chem. Commun., 2016, 52, 5007-5010

Educational Background

  • 2008 – 2012, B.S Materials Science and Engineering, University of Science and Technology of China
  • 2012 – 2014, M.S Materials Engineering, Northwestern University

Contact Information

Hu345@purdue.edu

Top

 

Scott McClary

Scott McClary

Research Interests

My research focuses on the application of novel chalcogenide materials in solar cells and thermoelectric devices. The promise of such materials lies in their constituent earth abundant elements and predicted optimal optoelectronic properties. Solution-based methods, including nanoparticles and molecular precursors, are used in order to minimize processing costs and ensure scalability.

Awards and Honors

  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program Honorable Mention
  • Nominated for Best Student Presentation Award at the 2017 PVSC\

Publications

  • S.A. McClary, J. Andler, C.A. Handwerker, R. Agrawal, Solution-processed copper arsenic sulfide thin films for photovoltaic applications, J. Mater. Chem. C. 5 (2017) 6913–6916. doi:10.1039/C7TC01920C.

Educational Background

2010-2014, B.S. Chemical Engineering, Minors in Energy and Mathematics, Colorado School of Mines

Contact Information

smcclary@purdue.edu

Top

Alumni

 

       Caleb Miskin

Dr. Caleb Miskin

Dr. Caleb Miskin’s work focused on solving humanity’s grand challenges at the nexus of food, energy, and water needs with an emphasis on solution-processed electronic devices such as photovoltaics and thermoelectrics. Caleb’s work was very diverse, spanning solution processed CZTS as an earth abundant absorber, molecular precursor based cadmium telluride photovoltaics, and solar spectrum splitting for food, energy, and water applications.
       

Dr. Brian Graeser

Dr. Brian Graeser worked on the development of nanoparticle syntheses and sintering processes for new photovoltaic absorber materials using earth abundant elements for solution processed photovoltaics.
       

Dr. Mark Koeper

Dr. Mark Koeper’s research interests involved fabricating solution processed thin-film photovoltaic devices and electrical and optical characterization of thin-film solar cells. Dr. Koeper was actively involved in using admittance spectroscopy to study defects in multiple photovoltaic devices to enhance understanding of their limitations. Dr. Koeper was also involved in fabricating derivatives of the CZTS absorber layer with the goal of reducing inherit defects and improving device performance.
       

Dr. Steven McLeod

Dr. Steven McLeod’s research focused on the thermal processing of solution based CIGS nanoparticle films. As coated nanoparticle films make poor solar cell absorbers and must be converted to large-grain crystals, this is accomplished by a high temperature selenization process. Steven’s research goal yielded a deeper kinetic understanding of the selenization step, and has allowed for use of the information gained to optimize our processing methods and create high efficiency solar cells.
     

Dr. Xin Zhao

Dr. Xin Zhao worked on the development of high-efficieny, scalable, environmental friendly and low-cost solution processed thin film solar cells, specifically the use of molecular precursor solutions to cast films of CIGSe for solution processed photovoltaics.

Dr. Chuck Hages

Dr. Chuck Hages worked on nanocrystal synthesis of metal chalcogenide materials for semiconductor applications:
– Detailed electronic characterization and modeling of semiconductor devices
– Developed novel material systems for photovoltaic applications
– Investigated absorber sintering/coarsening mechanisms through rapid thermal processing
– Designed and constructed/developed evaporation, sputtering, and thermal processing equipment
– Optoelectronic and materials characterization of semiconductor nanocrystals and absorbers
– Fabricated record efficiency Cu2Zn(Sn,Ge)(S,Se)4 solar cells and nanocrystal-based Cu2ZnSn(S,Se)4 solar cells
– Published eleven peer-reviewed journal articles, twelve conference proceedings, and a book chapter
– Delivered eight research presentations to international audiences at professional meetings
– Collaborated in international and multi-disciplinary research projects

Dr. Erick Sheets

Dr. Erick Sheets focused on the following areas of research:
1) Develop novel alternative solar absorption materials for sustainable solar cells.
2) Synthesize earth abundant solution-based nanocrystals.
3) Characterize nanocrystals by SEM, TEM, FTIR, UV-Vis, PL, PXRD, etc.
4) Construct solar devices and measure performance via optical characterizations.

Dr. Kevin Brew

Dr. Kevin Brew worked on solution processing of nanoparticles for photovoltaic applications. His background is in nanoparticle materials synthesis and characterization, specifically with ligand chemistry.

Dr. Ruihong Zhang

Dr. Ruihong Zhang worked to develop a versatile direct solution route for the deposition of metal chalcogenide semiconductor materials. Metal chalcogenides include binary, ternary, and quaternary sulfides and selenides. Dr. Zhang worked on the following:
• Fabricate copper zinc tin selenide thin-film solar cells with power conversion efficiencies of 8% using the developed solution route.
• Study the correlationship between composition and solar cell performance.
• Characterize nanoparticles and thin films using XRD, Raman, SEM/FIB, SEM/EDX, TEM, and STEM.
• Characterize solar cell performance based on J-V and external quantum efficiency.
• Initiate the direct solution processing study in the lab, and patented the developed solution route in August 2014.

Dr. Nathan Carter

Dr. Bryce Walker

 Low-cost photovoltaics from nanomaterials utilizing liquid deposition techniques
First lab safety administrator April 2011-July 2012
Developed safety instruction, methods for communicating safety concerns, and lab safety manual
Senior lab member since May 2011
Responsible for training, mentoring, and overseeing other grad students, postdoctoral researchers, and undergraduate students
Assisted in writing research grant proposals

Dr. Grayson Ford

Responsible for all steps in the device fabrication process (metal PVD, QD synthesis, ink coating, rapid thermal processing, chemical solution deposition, TCO PVD, thermal evaporation of grid)
• Responsible for all characterization (IV, EQE, CV, XRD, TEM, SEM, EDX, UV-vis)
• Expanded Cu2ZnSn(S,Se)4 (CZTS) material system to include Ge for band gap profile engineering of Cu2Zn(Sn,Ge)(S,Se)4 solar cells from CZTGS nanocrystal ink (6.8% efficiency achieved)
• In team of three, achieved penultimate efficiency for CZTS solar cells (2010-2011)
• In team of two, developed fabrication procedure for 12% efficient solar cells from Cu(In,Ga)S2 nanocrystal inks, with ~2% absolute efficiency increase per year (average) over project lifetime

Dr. Qijie Guo

 Pioneered the development of solution-based methods for the fabrication of high-efficiency CIGSSe and CZTSSe thin film solar cells using chalcogenide nanoparticles. Developed commercially-relevant processing technologies for the fabrication of high-efficiency thin film solar cells using chalcogenide nanoparticles.

Dr. Mahaprasad Kar

 Proposed the mechanism of formation of CuInSe2 nanocrystals based on spectroscopic data and thermodynamic calculations for applications in low-cost solar cells.
• Developed a low-cost, chemical liquid deposition method of CuInSe2 thin films on flexible substrates.
• Fabricated device-quality films followed by complete device fabrication into functional solar cells.
• Installed solar cell testing equipment and performed electrical characterization of the flexible solar cells.
• Modeled the solar cells to identify the shortcomings and improved device efficiency by optimizing device-processing steps.

Dr. Hye Yeon Park

 Development of synthetic procedure for tunable composition of multinary nanoparticle and nanocrystal ink to control material/optical properties: Nanoparticle synthesis, film deposition and device fabrication of novel nancrystals for photovoltaic applications. Device fabrication process for thin film solar cells: PVD, hot-injection synthesis, nanocrystal ink coating, chemical vapor deposition, TCO PVD

Chinmay Joglekar (M.S.)

I worked on developing new materials for solar cells which would be cost effective, easy to scale and widely available. I worked with a team of engineers and scientists to improve solar cell efficiency of CZTS solar cells from 7.2 to 9.2 %

Bethlehem Negash (M.S.)

Synthesize nanoparticles, via solution based route, for the application of thin film solar cells.
Analyze size, structure, and elemental composition of synthesized nanoparticles via PXRD, SEM and Raman Spectroscopy.
Produce finished photovoltaic devices and characterize device properties.
 

Robert Boyne

Robert Boyne (M.S.)

Research Interests

My research involved looking at alternative solar cell architectures for traditional thin-film materials.  The long term goal is to find architectures to make devices from new experimental materials.  The long term goal is to be able to compare newly developed materials to existing materials and examine their fundamental properties in a working device. Current materials either involve rare, limited elements or are fundamentally limited in efficiency.  Proper understanding of these materials is necessary to evaluate which materials may be effective advancements for earth-abundant thin-film solar cells.