The mission of the UC Davis Solar Collaborative is simple: to find ways to make solar cells more efficient.
Even in theory, the efficiency of conventional solar cells is limited to a disappointing 31%. However, this limit is based on the traditional operation of solar cells, where an incoming solar photon excites only a single electron. A recent breakthrough showed that one photon may excite several electrons in nanoparticles, thus opening a new energy conversion paradigm not constrained by the above limit. The UC Davis Solar Collaborative will synthesize a wide variety of nanoparticles, perform ultra-fast optical experiments to characterize the energy conversion process in these particles, and construct fully functional solar cells by embedding the nanoparticles into charge transport layers. Path-breaking mathematical work will be performed to accelerate the computational techniques to unprecedented speeds to simulate the energy conversion process with great accuracy. Further, qualitatively new statistical analyses will be developed to uncover the complex factors embedded in the vast amount of data produced by the optical experiments.
"Project Structure of UCD Solar Collaborative"