The collaboration started in 2010. It has focused on the development of polycrystalline thin film cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar cells which have become the world’s leading second-generation solar technology. Over 30GWp of thin film CdTe solar cells are already deployed worldwide, mainly in large scale solar utilities. The collaboration has led to several breakthroughs that have helped the team achieving champion cell conversion efficiencies >20%, exceeding that of any other University or National Laboratory around the world. One notable advance was the addition of Selenium to the front of the CdTe solar cell. In addition to its primary purpose of modifying the bandgap, Selenium was also found to passivate bulk defects as well as grain boundaries. This was nicely explained in a joint paper published in ‘Nature Energy’ in 2019. CREST is well known for its expertise in solar cell characterization using techniques such as transmission electron microscopy and cathodoluminescence and these skills were crucial in understanding the science behind this important development. For more information, the publication can be accessed here
As well as working with CSU’s senior academics Professors Walajabad Sampath, Kurt Barth and Jim Sites, a number of CREST research students and post-doctoral researchers have visited CSU as part of their research programmes. One of the attractions is that Colorado State University is situated in Fort Collins in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and within easy reach of the region’s famous ski resorts !