Description of field of research:

As we move towards a greener future, photovoltaic (PV) energy is poised to play a pivotal role in meeting our energy needs. With its cost continuously decreasing, PV is emerging as one of the most important energy sources for humans in the coming decades. Not only is it a sustainable solution, but it is also a powerful tool in combating the looming threat of climate change.

To maximize the potential of PV, solar cells need to be highly efficient in converting energy. However, an unavoidable recombination process called intrinsic recombination can affect the energy conversion efficiency of silicon solar cells. An accurate quantitative study of this intrinsic recombination in silicon is crucial for a better understanding of this fundamental recombination mechanism and helps predict the theoretical limit for the energy conversion efficiency of silicon solar cells.

In this project, we aim to investigate Auger recombination at different injection levels and temperatures. We will utilise a cutting-edge characterization tool developed by the ACDC research group at UNSW. This tool, combined with our unique set of high-quality samples, will enable us to extract the intrinsic lifetime of silicon under different operating conditions.

Research Area

Solar cells | Photovoltaic | Semiconductor | Characterisation

In this project, you will work with the ACDC research team (Artificial intelligence, Characterisation, Defects and Contacts) at UNSW. The research team is made up of around 20 researchers and students. The group has a very friendly environment. We have students who finished a ToR project with us, stayed for their 4th-year thesis, and later transitioned to a PhD in the group.

You will mainly work with Dr Shuai Nie. She has worked on the characterisation of solar cells for five years. She is well aware of the challenges that come with researching in a new area and is willing to share her knowledge and skills with you. We'll provide you with all the support you need to get your project off to a smooth start. Throughout your entire project, we'll work together to help you develop independent research skills, and make sure you can gain valuable experience and make a contribution to the field.

The outcomes of this project include: developing characterisation techniques for extracting intrinsic recombination, a better understanding of the intrinsic recombination mechanism in silicon, deriving a new model for Auger recombination at different temperatures, and assessing the theoretical efficiency limit of single junction silicon solar cells at different temperatures.

You'll have the opportunity to present your work at international conferences, and you may even get the chance to publish your results in a top-tier journal! By the end of the project, we hope you will have gained a solid foundation in the basic skills needed for conducting research. But most importantly, we want you to enjoy the exhilarating process of scientific discovery as much as we do.

In our lab, we have a wide variety of advanced characterisation equipment – some of the most unique and state-of-the-art equipment in the world giving you opportunities to gain expertise in these techniques. You can master these advanced characterisation techniques, or even make some improvements. We also have a variety of samples provided by our collaborator for you to investigate.

Apart from guidance from Dr Shuai Nie, you will also have the chance to get advice from other members of the ACDC team. We will use our experience and expertise to help you build the capabilities to solve any problems you might encounter.

Website of our research group: