David Kirkpatrick

August 9, 2010

A meeting of the photonic minds

Experts from three major photonic fields — solar photovoltaics, infrared (IR) photovoltaics and light emitting diode (LED) — met at the 2010 International Symposium on Optoelectronic Materials and Devices held on July 12 and 13, 2010, in Chicago. The conference was put together by the Quantum-functional Semiconductor Research Center of Dongguk University, the Microphysics Laboratory of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and Sivananthan Laboratories Inc. The symposium gave photonics leaders the opportunity to get together and discuss the current and future state of the industry and its materials and devices.

About the conference, Dr. Chris Grein, Professor of Physics and Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said, “The fields of solar and infrared photovoltaics and light emitting diodes have many common technical elements yet few conferences bring together experts from all three. One of the goals of the symposium was to facilitate the cross-pollination of many ideas that will benefit these technologies.”

The entire photonic space is rapidly evolving and conferences that put the different disciplines together can spur innovation from unseen sources. A material that imrpoves LED lighting could possibly improve solar cells, or a production technique lowering the cost of solar photovoltaics might also be applicable to IR photovoltaics. Another benefit of this meeting is it puts industry leaders, top researchers, students and other members of this business sector together in one place for a couple of days to speculate and share ideas.

Symposium topics included:

  • thin film solar cells
  • very high efficiency tandem solar cells
  • heteroepitaxial growth
  • antimonide- and HgCdTe-based infrared sensors
  • ZnO nanorods
  • The featured speakers were Dr. Martha Symko Davies of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Mr. Minh Le of the Solar Energy Technologies Program at the U.S. Department of Energy. This year’s conference was seventh in an ongoing series