Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Physics Colloquium, University of Massachusetts, Lowell (Lowell, MA)
Silicon is the world's widely used semiconductor. As the building block of a photovoltaic cell, silicon offers the best combination of stability, efficiency, and manufacturability. However, as an indirect absorber of light, thick layers of highly-pure, expensive material are required for efficient light absorption and charge collection. Furthermore, silicon does not absorb in the infrared, a spectral region that contains about a quarter of the sun's radiation. In this talk, I will discuss non-equilibrium laser-doping techniques we have been developing in the Mazur group that attempt to dramatically alter the physical properties of silicon: enabling absorption in thinner layers, and extending the useful spectral range of silicon into the infrared.