Mines plays crucial role in GE's Colorado solar panel manufacturing plant
GOLDEN, Colo., Oct. 14, 2011 – Colorado School of Mines research has been instrumental in the development of cost effective cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin film solar cells — the technology to be used in the photovoltaic panels to be manufactured by General Electric in its recently announced $300 million Colorado plant. The facility will be the largest solar panel manufacturing plant in the U.S.
- Research Associate Professor of Physics Joe Beach has a patent pending for a more scalable method for making Cadmium Stannate films, a material that transmits light and conducts electricity. This material has been used in high efficiency laboratory CdTe cells and may help improve commercial CdTe panels.
- Associate Professor Tim Ohno uses electrical and optical methods to study how the fabrication processes change the structure of the CdTe solar cells.
- Professor Reuben Collins and Physics Department Head Tom Furtak study organic solar cells with support from the National Science Foundation.
- The NSF Renewable Energy Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (REMRSEC) at Mines conducts materials research for applications in future solar technologies.
- Physics Professor Mark Lusk leads a group of research colleagues at Mines studying quantum dots, man-made atoms that confine electrons to a small space. They have unusual electronic properties on a nano-scale and may be particularly valuable in tailoring the way light interacts with matter.