Based at UNSW Sydney and running for 3.5 years, the work will push the performance of photovoltaic solar cells for space to the limit, both in terms of efficiency and radiation stability.
Associate Professor Ekins-Daukes has previously developed nanostructured, strain-balanced photovoltaic absorbers that have utility for solar power conversion in the space environment.
“Our research on high-efficiency solar cells can help extend the operational life of a spacecraft and lead to light-weight, lower-cost solar arrays,” Ned said.
“We are excited to work with a global leader in the space industry, opening opportunities for commercialisation of this technology in Australia and internationally.
“Partnering with Airbus’ experts will help us to understand the broader aerospace industry requirements for solar power and realise the full potential for these future solar power technologies.”
The project focuses on solar cells composed of several different layers of semiconductor materials that selectively absorb different parts of the solar spectrum.
This enables the solar cells to operate more efficiently than the standard silicon solar cells used on domestic rooftops.
The work will explore the merit of introducing patterned, non-planar layers into the solar cell structure, a technique known as interstitial light-trapping, which can further confine certain wavelengths of light into particular layers of the solar cell.
The project will be supported Dr Phoebe Pearce, a Research Fellow with Exciton Science at UNSW and Dr Michael Nielsen, UNSW Scientia Research Fellow and Associate Investigator in the Centre.
Jamie Harrison, who completed an undergraduate degree at the University of Ottawa, will join UNSW in February 2023 to work on the project as a PhD student.