This symposium is jointly organized by MRS and MRS-Singapore (MRSS). Photovoltaic (PV) and photoelectrochemical (PEC) solar cells are energy technologies that convert sunlight into electricity or fuels. The main component common to both PV and PEC technologies is the semiconductor absorber material, where the sunlight is absorbed and photoactivated charge carriers are transported. Established absorber technologies have matured to the point where PV is now cost competitive against all other energy sources for electricity production, but work remains to achieve even higher efficiencies and lower costs. On the other hand, the technology of generating fuels from photocatalytic processes is far less mature than energy generated by PV, due to stringent selection criteria for suitable photoelectrodes. In addition to solar spectrum-matched band gaps and favorable charge transport required for PV technologies, PEC absorbers must also have band edges that can drive chemistry with photogenerated carriers, sufficient stability to survive in aqueous environments, and catalytic selectivity toward the desired reaction. Thus, additional research and development of emerging inorganic semiconductor absorber materials is needed to diversify the portfolio of existing PV—and especially PEC—solar cell technologies.
This symposium will cover all aspects of emerging inorganic photoabsorber materials, with particular emphasis on materials for photovoltaic and photoelectrochemical solar cells. A wide range of emerging materials will be discussed including SnS, ZnTe, Cu2O, Sb2Se3, Bi2S3, MoSe2, ZnSnN2, FeWO4, CuBi2O4, CuSbS2, BiVO4, AgBiS2, CsPbCl3, Cu2ZnSnS4, Cu2BaSnS4, as well as other novel oxides, chalcogenides, nitrides, and phosphides. Contributions on emerging contacts, buffers, transparent conductors, and other supporting materials for semiconductors such as, Si, CdTe, CIGS, and III-V PV absorbers are of interest, but not these well-established absorbers themselves. This year, we will also consider contributions focusing on emerging photocatalysts, absorber/catalyst interactions, catalyst surface decoration, PEC cell designs, device encapsulants, and other materials supporting photocatalytic processes, in addition to the photoelectrochemical cell absorbers. Contributions on emerging materials for other optoelectronic energy conversion technologies, such as solid-state lighting and photodetectors are also welcome.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Tokyo Institute of Technology
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Nanyang Technological University
School of Materials Science and Engineering