Center for Experiential Learning and Diversity

Photovoltaics Research Assistant

PI: Prof. Daniel Gamelin

Start-Up Company Name: BlueDot Photonics, Inc.

Lab/Project Website: https://depts.washington.edu/gmrg/

Work Location: Chemistry Building, University of Washington

Work Hours: 

  • Standard work hours: Monday-Friday 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Sub-group research update: Monday at 10:30am
  • Research Group meetings: Friday at 3:30pm (optional)

Overall Program Goal: BlueDot Photonics is developing technology to boost the performance of solar photovoltaic cells using proprietary quantum-cutting coatings. Developed in the Gamelin Lab at the University of Washington, quantum-cutting coatings are deposited onto commercial solar cells and “shape” the solar spectrum striking the cell. To date, R&D has focused on materials development and developing new materials deposition techniques. In addition, proof-of-principle quantum cutting solar cells have been fabricated in the lab, but in-house calculations predict that much higher performance can be achieved. Next key steps include improving solar cell efficiency and understanding the short- and long-term stability of quantum-cutting coating under different atmospheric conditions.

Intern Project Description and Responsibilities: The primary project the intern will work on will be optimizing quantum-cutting solar photovoltaic device performance.  This will include:

  • Characterization of quantum-cutting solar cells by measuring current-voltage scans (power conversion efficiency) and external quantum efficiency.
  • Monitoring device performance over a given period of time to determine possible degradation mechanisms.
  • Providing assistance with synthesis of quantum-cutting coating single-source precursors (measuring chemicals and operating mixing equipment).
  • Providing assistance with deposition of quantum-cutting coatings.
  • Working up/analyzing solar cell data and compiling data as charts/graphs for presentations/reports.
  • Compiling a weekly report of work completed and planned work.
  • Maintaining a clear and concise laboratory notebook detailing work performed.

Pre-requisites: The intern should have a general understanding of semiconductors and the physics of photovoltaic cells.  Previous experience with thin-film solution- or physical vapor deposition techniques (spincoating, thermal evaporation, sputtering, pulsed laser deposition), basic semiconductor materials characterization techniques (XRD, SEM, absorption/photoluminescence spectroscopy), and/or solar cell characterization techniques (current-voltage scans and external quantum efficiency) is a plus.  Previous experience coding in LabView and performing data analysis in Igor Pro also a plus. Intern will be trained to use all relevant instrumentation and software to execute the research project.

Level of Independence: The intern can expect to have a well-structured research project with a clear research objective.  The intern will undergo hands-on training with state-of the-art laboratory instrumentation and can expect to work alongside supervisors on a daily basis for material synthesis and coating deposition.  The intern can also expect to perform device characterization and analyze/work-up data individually. Depending on the progression of the research project, the intern may have the opportunity to pursue self-directed materials development or solar cell research.

Learning Opportunities: 

  • Fabrication and analysis of next-generation photovoltaic cells.
  • Operation and maintenance of home-built instrumentation including hardware and software.
  • Application of materials science and engineering concepts to solve real-world problems.