Solar Energy Research

Keywords: photovoltaic, solar conversion, membranes.


In this SFI funded 'Cluster' project led by Prof. Don MacElroy the focus is the development of new solar cell materials for electric-power generation, splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen, and capturing CO2and its conversion into fuels. The Surface Engineering research focus involves the deposition of a range of different metal oxide and doped metal oxide coatings by Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD) and Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapour Deposition (PECVD) techniques. In addition to the evaluation of the mechanical and physical properties of the deposited coatings other evaluations include the assessment of light conversion efficiency in solar simulator equipment.

Photoelectrochemical Cell for H2 production (PEC)

Within Surface Engineering the objective is to use plasma based processing (both PVD and PECVD) to deposit metal oxide / polymer layers onto semiconductor/metallic substrates. Surface engineering group will be involved following subprograms of this cluster project,

  1. Fabrication of New Polymer-Oxide Materials for more efficient PV Cells
  2. Fabrication of Nanocrystalline Oxide surfaces for Photocatalytic CO2 reduction
  3. The synthesis of doped Oxide coating for water Splitting application (image above)

The effect of coating deposition conditions as well as the coating composition, thickness, morphology on photovoltaic efficiency will be assessed. This multidisciplinary project will involve a high level of engagement with colleagues and those evaluating solar cell efficiency. A key issue in selecting the final processing conditions will be the ability to readily scale-up the coating process.

Contact details

Prof. Denis Dowling
Director UCD Surface Engineering