Over Summer 2018, Edoardo Altamura has worked as a Rank Prize Optoelectronics Intern on developing techniques for photovoltaic characterisation. He describes his research:
Photovoltaic energy proved to play a decisive role in a variety of areas, from everyday life power consumption to space satellites. Assessing the efficiency of devices capable of producing such energy is crucial for exploiting their properties at maximum performance, and even seeking new technologies for pushing them beyond the current standards.
The focus of my internship was on a particular technique for measuring the energy-production efficiency across solar cells, in order to study how manufacturing defects or other forms of impurities affect the overall performance of the device. Using the results obtained by previous MPhys students, I started developing a system capable of projecting random light patterns and reconstructing the efficiency map using Compressed Sensing algorithms.
Such research has been a great opportunity to learn about defects in semicondutor devices, as well as methods for probing them. Moreover, the effort dedicated into optimising custom software and ensuring its scalability gives me reasons to hope for further development of this project, which may result in some useful applications in semiconductor and solar energy industry.
Thanks again to Edoardo for all of his work over the summer!