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Photovoltaic research within the energy initiative is carried out across a number of departments and research groups at the University of Cambridge.

Research in photovoltaics includes:

  • The physics of charge photogeneration, separation and collection from organic heterojunction solar cells, hybrid perovskite solar cells and solution-processed inorganic solar cells
  • Plasmonically enhanced solar cells, incorporate metal nanostructure with electromagnetic properties to improve all 3rd generation photovoltaics.
  • Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC) use dye structure and nanoscale component properties to improve solar cell efficiency. 
  • Research to improve; efficient silicon production and solar cell design.
  • Investigation of nanostructured hybrid solar cells (non-silicon, all-oxide and oxide/organic hybrids) and, particularly CNT polymer solar cells for mobile applications.
  • Research of semi-transparent solar cells for windows includes low-cost fabrication on plastic substrates.
  • Algae as an energy source in biophotovoltaic panels.
  • Bi compound alternatives to Pb-based perovksites.
  • oxides in solar cells.

We collaborate with industrial partners and are also actively involved in increasing both energy awareness and public understanding of the opportunities and challenges in photovoltaics.

Please visit individual faculty profiles to learn more about their research in the Photovoltaics theme.  The lead for Photovoltaics is Professor Judith Driscoll.


People specializing in this area

Principal Investigators

Professor Gehan Amaratunga

Materials and technologies for electrical energy and power.

Professor Jeremy Baumberg

Constructing nano-materials with unusual interactions with light, especially ones that can be fabricated on a large scale which can lead to practical use.

Professor Tony Cheetham

Functional Inorganic and Hybrid Materials

We work in the general area of materials chemistry. Our expertise lies in the synthesis of novel phases, their chemical and structural characterization, and the study of their properties.

Dr Jacqui Cole

The design and functionalisation of new materials for optoelectronic  applications

Dr. Tim Coombs

Magnetic solar cells

Professor Laura Diaz Anadon

Understanding factors responsible for solar photovoltaics improvements over the past 4 decades, and what the future of different types of technologies may be depending on policy and other factors.

Professor Dame Athene Donald

Biological and Soft Systems, and focusses on using the ideas of soft matter physics to study a wide range of systems of both synthetic and biological origin

Professor Judith Driscoll

Materials science of complex functional  materials and nanostructures.

Dr Rachel Evans

Design of spectral converters which can be used to "shape" the solar spectrum so that it can be harvested more effectively by solar cells.

Dr Adrian Fisher

Research is focused on the development of biophotovoltaic technologies, with the capability generating chemical products in parallel with an electrical current.

Professor Derek Fray, FRS, FREng

1. Direct reduction of high purity silicon to silicon which can either be directly used or electrorefined to photovoltaic grade silicon.

2. Creating nanoparticles of silicon on the surface of silicon wafers in order to increase the efficiency of light utilisation.

Professor Sir Richard Friend, FRS, FREng

Current research interests include the electronic properties and device physics of light-emitting diodes and solar cells made with organic semiconductors. 

Professor Neil Greenham

Conjugated polymers: Fabrication and characterisation of polymer  light-emitting diodes and solar cells. Physics of injection, transport,  recombination and emission in polymer devices. Optical properties of organic  semiconductor devices. Optical probing of excited states in conjugated  polymers.

Professor Chris Howe

Modifying the components of photosynthetic membranes that harvest and utilize light energy, with a view to improving their efficiency.

Professor Sir Colin Humphreys

My research is broad and covers three main areas: gallium nitride materials  and devices; advanced electron microscopy; and high-temperature aerospace  materials.

Dr Hannah Joyce

Semiconductor nanowires (diameter 10 - 100 nm and lengths well over 1 micron

Professor Bill Milne

Semi-transparent PV

Energy harvesting

Professor Mark Welland

A number of aspects of nanotechnology ranging from sensors for medical applications to understanding and controlling the properties of nanoscale structures and devices.