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Winton Programme for the Physics of Sustainability

Department of Physics

Studying at Cambridge

 

Alan Bowman

Alan Bowman

Winton Scholar

Supervisor: Dr Samuel Stranks

Optoelectronics Group


Biography:

Alan graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2014 with an MSci in Natural Sciences. He has a range of research experience, ranging from theoretical studies of the motion of ribbons to experimental work on renewable energy sources. Previous topics of interest have included the development of kelp as a biofuel, technologies to increase the lifetime of Lithium Ion batteries and the possibility of geoengineering to reduce the impacts of climate change. 

In his spare time Alan is a keen musician, performing regularly on both the Double Bass and as a Conductor.

Research Interests

As solar cells continue to improve, their efficiencies will approach the Shockley- Queisser limit of 33%. To overcome this limit, multiple photovoltaic materials must be combined. The conventional approach of overcoming this limit is to create tandem solar cells, but these are expensive to produce, limiting widespread applications. Down-conversion technologies, which utilise singlet fission, are nascent but hold much promise as their cell architecture is simpler than that of tandem cells, reducing production costs.

The first aim of this project is to demonstrate the potential of down-conversion solar cells by using bilayers of metal halide perovskites and tetracene (a well-known down-converter). This has the potential to increase the efficiency of solar cells to 44%. By tuning the composition of the perovskite, we can tune the perovskite conduction band energy level while maintaining a constant band-gap energy, which should allow for aligning its energy levels with those in tetracene. To date, no singlet fission material has been successfully integrated with a perovskite cell.

A second aim of this project is to address charge transfer at inorganic/organic interfaces. It has been observed that exciton dissociation is enhanced due to the mobility mismatch between organics and inorganics. It is hoped that this will be observed in perovskite/tetracene interfaces. A theoretical approach will also be taken to this problem, modelling charge transfer at the interface, with the aim of quantifying the probability of charge transfer from fissile materials to perovskites. Such a formula would assist with fine-tuning the design of future singlet fission/perovskite solar cells.