This good looking group of scientist is the McGehee team, led by Prof. Michael D. McGehee, an Associate Professor in the Materials Science and Engineering Department at Stanford University. He is also the Director of the Center for Advanced Molecular Photovoltaics.

The current focus of McGehee Group is mainly tandem solar cells with organic solar cells and dye- sensitized solar cells on top of silicon or CIGS solar cells. The team’s efforts belong to the Emerging Photovoltaics category shown in the cell efficiencies graph below. This graph is from National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the most recent version can be seen by clicking on this link.

Solar Energy

Even though the crystalline silicone is dominating the market and the crystalline silicone solar cell modules provide much higher efficiencies than tandem solar cells, the tandem solar cells are new and very promising. Prof. McGehee’s team is hoping to reach 20% efficiency soon with tandem cells.

McGehee group works in multiple sub groups that are composed of 2 or more students. This way the team tackles different aspects of their projects. Students have different backgrounds; chemistry, electrical engineering, and applied physics.

In 2009, McGehee team published an article (click here to see the article) explaining the new approach they used to design dye sensitized solar cells. This new design absorbs a wider spectrum of sunlight. The team is now working on new near-infrared sensitizing dyes in order to improve the short-circuit photocurrent density. They have also started studying the electronic property relationships of hole-conductors in solid-state dye sensitized solar cells to increase efficiency.

Solar Energy

One of the many exciting aspects of Prof.McGehee’s team is their strong relation with Prof. Michael Graetzel at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL, as seen in the graph above). That is Graetzel as in Gratzel cell, the third generation dye sensitized solar cells. Prof. Graetzel won the Millennium Technology Prize in 2010 with that invention.

The most commonly known problem with regards to organic solar cells is their lifetime. While the crystalline silicone solar cells last about 25 years or more, the lifetime of organic solar cells is about 5 years. Prof. McGehee’s team has setup a lab environment to understand the nature of this high rate degradation where 64 bulk heterojunction solar cells are monitored with controlled temperature and light intensity.

Solar Energy

As the Director of Center for Advanced Molecular Photovoltaics (CAMP) at Stanford University, Prof. McGehee’s projects are mainly funded with the grants from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) based on their website.
Joining the Team:
Prof. McGehee welcomes 2-3 students to his team every year. As we mentioned before, students have different backgrounds; chemistry, electrical engineering, and applied physics. Prof. McGehee himself was a Physics graduate when he started working in solar energy. While contacting Prof. McGehee will have no impact on your admittance to Stanford University, the candidates are encouraged, once they are admitted to Stanford University, to contact Prof. McGehee directly in order to arrange a phone call or a visit in person.

Prof. Michael D. McGehee

solar energy
Prof. McGehee is an associate professor of Material Science and Engineering at Stanford University. After earning a degree in Physics from Princeton University in 1994, Prof. McGehee went to University of California-Santa Barbara to get his Ph.D. degree. He worked on the use of semiconducting conjugated polymers as materials for lasers and light-emitting diodes with Alan Heeger and received his Ph.D. degree in Materials Science in 1999.

Prof. McGehee joined Stanford University in 2000 and has been leading the McGehee group focusing on organic and inorganic solar cells. He is also the director of Center for Advanced Molecular Photovoltaics (CAMP) at Stanford University.

A relatively new online program, Energy Innovation and Emerging Technologies Certificate Program, where Prof.McGehee gives the following lecture about solar cells is a great way to learn about solar cell technology and get in touch with Prof. McGehee.

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

  • Video-1
  • Video-2
  • Video-3
  • Video-4

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

  • Vance D. & Arlene C. Coffman Faculty Scholar( 2007)
  • Mohr Davidow Innovators Award (2007)
  • MRS Outstanding Young Investigator Award (2007)
  • Gilbreth Lecturer at the National Academy of Engineering’s National Meeting (2006)
  • Dupont Young Professor Award (2001)
  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2001)
  • Henry and Camille Dreyfus New Faculty Award (2000)
  • Materials Research Society Graduate Student Gold Medal Award (1999)
  • Corning Foundation Fellowship (1998)

Prof.Mcgehee was also listed as one of the Top 100 Materials Scientists (11th to be precise) for his work between 2000-2010 (click here to see the complete list)

To learn more about Prof.McGehee and his team, visit their website by clicking on this link.