PI: Ganesh Balasubramian
University: Lehigh University

Research and development of novel, low cost, environmentally-friendly glass frits used in silver pastes during screen-printing of silicon solar cells is being proposed. Though crystalline silicon technology is well-known in solar industry, improved power conversion efficiency with substantially lower cost is needed for wider adoption across all infrastructures.

In this project, we aim to understand the diffusion behavior of silver particles in glass frits as a function of glass composition and fabrication conditions. A transformative approach to design the silver paste and processing frit will provide a cost-effective, superior conductivity, and chemical stability of the electrodes in the solar cells. To accomplish this, we will pursue a computational materials engineering guided approach of effectively predicting the variation in diffusion coefficient as a function of possible frit compositions and manufacturing conditions. The computational design will be improved with feedback from materials characterization and measurements of silver-silicon interface structure and properties. Through this industry-university partnership and with leverage support from the industry and NSF, the graduate student will be able to participate in cutting-edge renewable energy technology, contribute to fundamental research in materials development, and potentially engage in product development and commercialization in collaboration with a PA company.