In our opinion, nano-technology is the second renaissance. With the ability to work on materials a billionth smaller in size, many scientists enjoy significant improvements in their fields. One of the beneficiaries of nano-technology is Photovoltaics.

The group picture above belongs to the Javey Research Group, whose expertise lies in nano-technology. They have been applying this expertise on many topics, including Photovoltaics, since Prof. Ali Javey founded the group in 2006.

The team describes their work in Photovoltaics under High Performance and Flexible Photovoltaics title.

High Performance and Flexible Photovoltaics
Recognizing the vast potential of solar energy and its importance in the upcoming energy crisis, Javey Research Group started working on a 3D solar nanopillar cell, SNOP as they call it, which utilizes anodic alumina membranes as the template for the synthesis of single-crystalline nanostructures.

Solar Energy

Even though the Javey Research Group’s efforts belong to the Thin-Film Technologies category in the following efficiency graph, nano-structured solar cells are relatively new and could be considered as a part of Emerging Photovoltaics category. This graph is from National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the most recent version can be seen by clicking on this link.

Solar Energy

The first generation solar cells created by the Javey Research Group with nano-structures were able to get to 12% materials conversion efficiency and 6% device conversion efficiency. These are impressive numbers for the first generation solar cells. Aside from efficiency, there’s also a huge cost reduction potential with this approach. Growing single-crystalline structures on aluminium sheets as well as the 3D configuration of the crystalline nanopillars that lower the materials requirements could significantly lower the cost of the solar cell modules.

Solar Energy

For more information on Javey Research Group and their research, please visit the team’s website by clicking on this link.

Javey Research Group is currently sponsored by the following entities.

  • Bay Area PV Consortium
  • Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center
  • Center for Energy Efficient Electronics Science
  • Center for Integrated Nanomechanical Systems
  • Department of Energy
  • Dow Chemical Company
  • Intel Corporation
  • Center for Low Energy Systems Technology
  • Murata Manufacturing Co.
  • National Science Foundation
  • Siemens AG
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • University of California, Berkeley
Joining the Team:
As of the writing of this review, there is a post-doc opening in Javey Research Group in the area of large-scale processing of nanostructures for energy harvesting. For more information, please visit the team’s website by clicking on this link.

Prof. Ali Javey

solar energy
Prof. Ali Javey received his B.S. degree in 2001 from Old Dominion University Chemistry department. In 2005, Prof. Javey earned his Ph.D. degree in Physical Chemistry from Stanford University. A year later, in 2006, Prof. Javey joined UC Berkeley faculty and founded Javey Research Group.

Prof. Javey currently holds many titles including Associate Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, UC Berkeley; Program Leader, Electronic Materials (E-Mat), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Co-Director, Bay Area PV Consortium (BAPVC); Co-Director, Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center (BSAC); Associate Editor, ACS Nano.

Among hundreds of published articles, Prof. Javey also co-authored the following book. Click on the link below to download the e-book from iTunes.

Video clips that involve Prof. Javey are also available online:

  • Video-1
  • Video-2
  • Video-3

Throughout his career, Prof. Javey has received many honors & awards including:

  • 2012 UC Berkeley Electrical Engineering Outstanding Teaching Award
  • 2011 APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education
  • 2011 Netexplorateur of the Year Award
  • 2010 IEEE Nanotechnology Early Career Award
  • 2010 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow
  • 2010 Mohr Davidow Ventures (MDV) Innovator Award
  • 2009 MIT Technology Review TR35
  • 2009 National Academy of Sciences Award for Initiatives in Research
  • 2008 National Science Foundation CAREER Award
  • 2008 U.S. Frontiers of Engineering, National Academy of Engineering
  • 2004 Election to Harvard Society of Fellows, Junior Fellow
  • 2004 Materials Research Society Graduate Student Gold Award
  • 2003-2005 Semiconductor Research Corporation Peter Verhofstadt Fellowship
  • 2001 Hampton Roads Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS) Award to the Outstanding Graduating Senior in Chemistry
  • 1998-2001 Tidewater Builders Association Scholarship

To learn more about Prof. Ali Javey, please visit his LinkediN profile by clicking on this link.