Miss Maria Jabeen

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Research Project Title: Design and Optimisation of thin-film solar cell configuration structures using the Finite Element Method.

Project outline: 

The need for clean energy and reduction in C02 emissions requires the development of alternative sources of energy. Nanostructured materials are being investigated and developed as versatile components of optoelectronic devices with the ability to manipulate light and control energy flow at nearly the atomic level. There are challenges to overcome for thin film solar cell nanostructures (For example high light trapping and absorption, high short circuit current, maximum conversion efficiency) but the potential benefits are worth the efforts. In order to generate solar energy more feasible, the solar cells efficiency must increase and its cost of production must decrease to generate on a large scale. Thin film photovoltaic cells exhibit the prospects of increasing efficiency and decreasing material costs. Prior studies of nanostructure solar cells primarily focused on survey of photonic particles synthesis and characterization of the structural and optical properties of the resulting nanostructure surfaces. The objective of this study is to investigate and optimise novel Solar Cell nanostructures that would exhibit, high absorption efficiency of light, compactness, low cost and easy to fabricate.  In this research project we initially designed and implemented a new compact and efficient solar cell structure based on unique properties that have significant impact on green energy. My PhD project is about Modelling 2D and 3D Thin-Film Solar Cell nano-structures by using Graphene and other new generation materials to increase Light absorption, photocurrent and optical Trapping in thin active Silicon layers to increase device Efficiency. The key challenges are to deploy the Full Vectorial Finite Element Method (FVFEM) modelling for the efficiency improvement of thin-film silicon solar cells and to propose new ways for the Current density and power conversion efficiency enhancement of the solar cells. We proposed new buffer/window layers, TCO layers, Nanoparticle dimensions, Texture strategies, Plasmonic gratings, Back reflector/mirror electrode and highly conductive graphene sheets to improve the optical absorption and conductivity of silicon thin-film solar cells. Moreover, new absorber materials for high short circuit current density and output power were utilised to determine alternate keys for the cost reduction of thin-film solar cells fabrication. Full vectoral Finite Element method was deployed to model entire critical solar cell features and 2D/3D simulations were accomplished with high resolution and multiple frequency spectra for device performance from visible to infrared wavelength region. We used Full Vectorial Finite Element Method (FVFEM) to design 4 novel compact solar cell structures. Our research interest is also based on designing Graphene based solar cell structures with deep absorption regimes nanograting that enables to produce strong electric field localisation, thus magnetic field at these gratings support strong induce current loop. We investigated novel graphene based solar cells structures with improved absorptions and passivate the interface states which is another urgent task in this field.


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