New Lifetime Instrumentation for Solar Cell Materials

Jack Root
Jack Root

Jack is a rising Senior (’22) from San Anselmo, CA. His interests include playing guitar, skiing with the Wesleyan Ski team, and hosting a WESU radio program . He is double-majoring in Physics and Astronomy. After graduating Wesleyan, he plans to attend graduate school, in order to continue his Physics research and education.

Abstract: When designing and producing solar panels, it is essential to know the solar panel material’s efficiency in converting sunlight into electricity. This efficiency is largely determined by the lifetime of charge carriers (i.e. electrons) within the solar cell material. Using terahertz spectroscopy, Sher’s lab has been modeling the lifetime of electrons in solar cell materials for several years. However, the original lab set-up implements a “pump” laser that is a poor replication of the actual sunlight conditions to which solar panels would be exposed. Additionally, while the original lab set-up can effectively model shorter lifetimes (in the range of nanoseconds), it has difficulty modeling longer lifetimes (in the range of microseconds), due to the physical limitations of the current “delay stage”. This summer, we have replaced the “pump” laser with a new laser diode, whose intensity and wavelength better mimic sunlight. We are also working to replace our physical delay stage with an electronic system, which would allow us to better model much longer lifetimes. With these new implementations, our lab group will be able to more accurately replicate the lifetime of solar cell materials whose charge carriers have longer lifetimes. Ultimately, these findings will provide insight into the efficiency of solar cell materials, and allow solar panels to provide for a more environmentally-friendly future.


Jack Root (Physics Department)

Live Poster Session:
Thursday, July 29th 1:15-2:30pm EDT