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Event Details

Spring 2013 Solar Energy bi-weekly seminar series

January 10 @ 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM - Birck Nanotechnology Center, Room 2001

The Energy Center, the Birck Nanotechnology Center and Engagement Office in Discovery Park are hosting a bi-weekly seminar series. This will include presentations from researchers at Purdue and leading research centers across the nation, regarding developments in wafer-based, thin-film, organic and cross-cutting technologies in photovoltaics and related solar power. All talks are on Thursdays and will start at 3:30 p.m. in the Birck Nanotechnology Center, Room 2001.

Please contact Pankaj Sharma at if you have any question and/or like to meet any speaker.

  • Jan. 10: Rakesh Agrawal, Winthrop E. Stone Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at Purdue.
  • Jan. 24: Bryan Boudouris, assistant professor of chemical engineering at Purdue.
  • Feb. 7: Jeff Sternberg, research manager of materials science and engineering for DuPont Central Research and Development.
  • Feb. 21: Tobin Marks, professor of chemistry and materials science and engineering at Northwestern.
  • March 7: Suresh Garimella, the R. Eugene and Susie E. Goodson Distinguished Professor and associate vice president for engagement at Purdue.
  • March 21: B.J. Stanbery, founder and board chairman of Heliovolt.
  • April 4: Yi Cui, associate professor of materials science and engineering at Stanford University.
  • April 18: Ali Shakouri, the Mary Jo and Robert L. Kirk Director of Birck Nanotechnology Center and professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue; and Kaz Yazawa, research associate professor at Birck Nanotechnology Center


Thin Film Solar Cells from Nanocrystal Inks of Quaternary Chalcogenides

The creation of a suitable inorganic colloidal nanocrystal ink for use in a scalable coating process is a key step in the development of low-cost thin film solar cells.  We have developed an innovative method of using copper indium gallium disulfide (CIGS) nanocrystals as the building block for the fabrication of bulk CIGSSe thin films.  The CIGS nanocrystal ink solution is applied directly on various substrates to form a thin film coating.  The CIGS nanocrystals are then consolidated into large crystalline chalcopyrite domains by a brief thermal treatment under Se vapor.  Furthermore, the ability to control the composition for CIGS nanocrystals allows the unique capability to bandgap engineer the CIGSSe absorber using nanocrystals with different ratios of In/Ga.  By optimizing processing conditions for the various layers in the solar cells, total area efficiency of 14.2% under AM1.5 illumination has been achieved. 

Our scouting experiments based on the adaptation of CIGS method has also resulted in Cu2ZnSnS4 (CZTS) nanocrystals and the associated PV devices. Although the solar cell performance of the currently fabricated solar cells is somewhat low (total area power conversion efficiencies in the range of 8.4% to 9.4%), theresults are very promising and investigation is underway to improve their chemical and structural properties.


Rakesh Agrawal is Winthrop E. Stone Distinguished Professor, School of Chemical Engineering, Purdue University.  Previously, he was an Air Products Fellow at Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., where he worked until 2004. 

A major thrust of his research is related to energy issues and includes novel processes for fabrication of low-cost solar cells, biomass and liquid fuel conversion, and energy systems analysis.  His research further includes synthesis of muticomponent separation configurations including distillation, membrane and adsorption based processes, basic and applied research in gas separations, process development, gas liquefaction processes and cryogenics.  He was a member of the NRC Board on Energy and Environmental Systems (BEES) and a member of the AIChE’s Board of Directors and also its Energy Commission.  He has published 104 technical papers and holds 118 U.S. and more than 500 foreign patents.  These patents are used in over one hundred chemical plants with total capital expenditure in multibillion dollars. 

He has received several awards including, J & E Hall Gold Medal from the Institute of Refrigeration (UK), Presidential Citation for Outstanding Achievement from the University of Delaware, Industrial Research Institute (IRI) Achievement Award and from the AIChE:  the Gerhold, Excellence in Industrial Gases Technology, Institute Lecture, Chemical Engineering Practice, Fuels and Petrochemicals Division and Founders awards. He is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the AIChE and a foreign Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering.  Agrawal received the 2010 National Medal of Technology and Innovation, this is the highest honor for technological achievement given by the President of the United States on America’s leading innovators. 

Dr. Agrawal received a B. Tech. from the Indian Institute of Technology, in Kanpur, India; a M.Ch.E. from the University of Delaware, and an Sc.D. in chemical engineering from the MIT.

Contact Details


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