ASU establishes Advanced Photovoltaics Center

TEMPE, AZ-Arizona State University (ASU) recently established the Advanced Photovoltaics Center (ASU-APC), an initiative supported by state funding and the university administration.

TEMPE, AZ-Arizona State University (ASU) recently established the Advanced Photovoltaics Center (ASU-APC), an initiative supported by state funding and the university administration. The Center is directed by Ghassan E. Jabbour, professor in the School of Materials and the Flexible Display Center at ASU. “The goal of the Center is to develop new technology avenues for alternative energy research and development,” says Jabbour. “Our road map also includes the generation of intellectual property and spin-off companies in related areas. In fact, initial plans for an early spin-off are already in place and several meetings with funding sources are scheduled.”

It is well established that the finite supply of fossil fuels and the detrimental long-term effects of carbon dioxide and other emissions into the atmosphere underscore the importance of discovering and developing renewable energy resources. Large-scale manufacturing of photovoltaics has the potential to supply a significant fraction of our energy needs with minimal environmental impact. The ASU-APC is fortunate enough to be located in Arizona, where there is no shortage of sunshine.

The mission and scope of the ASU-APC is to provide the traditional university-type working platform focused on the fundamental scientific issues related to photovoltaics, as well as to engage in the development of engineering technologies and processing approaches that will help to enable low-cost fabrication of efficient solar cells. Some of these approaches, including printing and high-throughput fabrication, are already areas of demonstrated leadership at ASU.

The Center will cover inorganic, organic, and hybrid solar cells. Members and affiliates of the ASU-APC represent disciplines ranging from materials and device development to industrial-type testing and verification. The team also has theoretical modelling expertise, as well as relatively large-scale flexible-device manufacturing capabilities and is equipped with state-of-the-art technology including precision instrumentation donated in part from Optronic Laboratories (Orlando, FL) and other leaders in the field of photovoltaic and detector research. This synergy positions ASU to be in the forefront in the national and global acceleration of the development of efficient and low-cost solar cells.

The interdisciplinary nature of ASU-APC and its connectivity to industry and research laboratories will also provide a unique educational opportunity for students at all levels, as well as those who are interested in continuing education. One plan is to offer Internet-based courses to allow connectivity for students in different time zones.

-Gail Overton

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