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Photovoltaics: the cutting edge and the bottom line - a talk by Dr. Louise Hirst, Semiconductor Physics Group, Cavendish Laboratory

Abstract of talk:

The photovoltaics industry has seen rapid expansion in recent years, with dramatic cost reductions in silicon technologies driving exponential growth in installed electricity generation capacity. Despite mainstream uptake of photovoltaics for domestic power there is still a critical need for scientific innovation in this field to meet the needs of a diverse range of alternative applications, including powering satellites, unmanned vehicles and consumer electronics.

My research focuses on the development of novel photovoltaic device concepts with III-V materials such as GaAs. These systems already deliver unprecedented solar energy conversion efficiency and with emerging new materials and device structures, such as nanophotonic integration, they also offer other desirable characteristics including low mass, radiation tolerance and flexible form factors, which cannot be readily addressed by standard silicon technologies. In this talk I will discuss the cutting edge of research in this field as well as the bottom line in terms of practical and affordable applications for these technologies.

About Dr. Hirst:


I received my PhD from Imperial College London and was a post-doc, research fellow and eventually staff scientist at the US Naval Research Laboratory, home to many notable technological breakthroughs including the first solar powered satellite (Vanguard 1). I am currently a lecturer jointly in the Physics department and Materials Science and Metallurgy department and mother to a one year old daughter. In this talk I will also address some of the challenges women and men can face building careers as research scientists and academics.

Location: Small Lecture Theatre, Bragg Building, Cavendish Laboratory

Event open to all!