2013-14 Graduate Fellows / Graduate Fellows

Sanfeng Wu

Graduate Student, Physics

van der Waals Heterostructures for Solar Energy Conversion

Searching for new materials and designs for optimal solar energy conversion is crucial to the future of solar energy technology. One type of these materials that recently emerged as a promising candidate is the atomically thin crystalline semiconductors, namely monolayer transition metal dichalcogenides. They are two-dimensional materials that are stable and strong, in addition to their outstanding ability to absorb light and convert the energy into electricity. My research in CEI project is to investigate these monolayer semiconductors and to construct and optimize the structure to collect solar energy efficiently. Toward this effort, both the lateral and vertical PN heterostructures consisting of different monolayers, key components for solar energy conversion, are synthesized and studied. These studies may impact developing the next generation of ultrathin, transparent, and flexible solar cells.

“Providing clean energy to the inhabitants of our planet is a major challenge to future generations. The University of Washington is to be congratulated for establishing an Institute where faculty and students can work together to tackle the difficult global challenge of energy sustainability.”
– Mildred Dresselhaus, Professor of Physics and Electrical Engineering, Emerita and Institute Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
“Energy competition is opening up in a variety of ways, the push for carbon control will continue, and the rate of technology advancement is exponential. All the things I’ve seen at the CEI are just perfect for the way we see things going in energy. You guys are at the cutting edge. We’re counting on you.”
– Ronald Litzinger, President, Edison Energy