Photovoltaics (PV)

Harnessing Florida’s Solar Resources

FESC Photovoltaic (PV) Expertise and Resources

Photovoltaics (PV) directly converts light to electricity and can be deployed in a distributed manner. Both thin film and organic PV technologies as well as systems integration are being pursued by Consortium faculty. Concentrated solar thermal energy is also being explored for conversion to electricity, production fuels and feed stocks as well as water desalination. The faculty research expertise in solar thermal and PV across the Consortium is well recognized for its excellence.

Core Faculty and Research Expertise

Faculty University Expertise Department/ Position
Amir Abtahi FAU Fuel Cell Design and Optimization; Energy and Thermal Systems; Systems Dynamics; Modeling; Solar Energy Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering
C.T. Tsai FAU Defect generation in the growth of semiconductor crystals Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Wonbong Choi


FIU Nano Materials (Carbon Nanotubes, Graphene, ZnO nanowire, ZnO thin film), Energy materials: Li-ion battery, Dye sensitized Solar Cell and Biofuel Cell, Nano-bio Electronic Sensors (DNA, NO), and Nanoelectronics (high field emission, FET, Interconnect and Memory) Professor, Materials Science and Engineering
Shekhar Bhansali FIU Micro/Nano fabrication, materials selection, process design of high-frequency rectifiers Alcatel-Lucent Professor & Chair, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Nicoleta Sorloaica-Hickman FL Polytech PV and thermoelectric materials, devices and testing; High efficiency Nanostructured Inorganic/Organic Hybrid Solar Cells; PV Module Reliability and Durability Prediction and Experimental Studies; Dust mitigation technologies for Photovoltaic applications Associate Professor, Physics
Jim Zheng FSU Capacitors, nano-sensors, energy storage, fuel cells, photonics, thin film growth Sprint Eminent Scholar Chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor
Petru Andrei FSU/FAMU Modeling and simulation of nanoscale semiconductor devices and sensors, lithium batteries, fuel cells, sensors, magnetic materials, and on computational electromagnetics Professor and Graduate Program Director, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Hans Chapman FSU/FAMU Design, manufacturing, testing and analysis of renewable energy systems Instructor, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
Simon Y. Foo FSU/FAMU High efficiency multijunction solar cells; Concentrator PV cells; Thin film deposition; Solid state electronics; Nanoelectronics; Stand-alone and grid-connected PV applications; Energy storage Professor, Electrical Engineering
Yaw Owusu FSU/FAMU Biological PV, alternative renewable energy, nanotechnology, sensors, environmentally-conscious design and manufacturing Associate Professor, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
Artem Masunov UCF Computational materials, nanoscience, theoretical chemistry, and biophysics Associate Professor, Chemistry; Nanoscience Technology Center
Winston Schoenfeld UCF Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), enhanced light extraction and packaging Professor, College of Optics and Photonics
Danny Parker UCF/FSEC PV within zero energy home designs, match of PV to utility peak loads Principal Research Scientist, Buildings Research
Kristopher Davis UCF/FSEC Surface passivation materials, carrier-selective materials and heterostructures, optical materials and photon management, characterization of photovoltaic cells and modules, defect detection and root cause analysis in photovoltaics, reliability and durability of photovoltaics Assistant professor, Materials Science & Eng., Resilient, Intelligent & Sustainable Energy Systems (RISES) Cluster
Neelkanth Dhere UCF/FSEC Photovoltaic and Photo-electrochemical cells and PV Module Reliability Program Director and Professor
Robert Reedy UCF/FSEC Energy marketing, financing and business planning Director, Solar Systems Research
Gijs Bosman UF Hot carrier solar cell modeling and characterization Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering
Jiangeng Xue UF Organic electronic materials and devices; Thin films; Organic PV cells; Organic light-emitting devices organic transistors and memories; Hybrid polymer-inorganic nanocrystals solar cells; Organic and hybrid organic-inorganic light-emitting devices; Surface/interface characterization Professor, Materials Science and Engineering
Kevin Jones UF Solid state batteries, Ion beam processing, characterization of inorganic materials, TEM, Atom probe tomography, XRD etc. Distinguished Professor, Materials Science & Engineering
Peng Jiang UF Self-Assembled photonic crystals and colloidal plasmonics; Electro-kinetic separation and micro-analysis of bio-macromolecules; Nanocrystalline for ultra-high density magnetic and optical recording self-healing materials Professor, Chemical Engineering
Wolfgang Sigmund UF Synthesis and testing of novel nanostructured materials for energy storage (batteries and hydrogen) Professor, and Graduate Coordinator, Materials Science and Eng.
David Wei UF Surface chemistry; Nanomaterials for rechargeable batteries; Functional nanostructures for advanced energy storage; Electrochemistry Associate Professor, Chemistry
Chris Ferekides USF Thin film and 3rd generation PV; electronic materials for opto-electronic applications Professor, Electrical Engineering
Don Morel USF Photovoltaics, rectennas Professor, Electrical Engineering
Elias Stefanakos USF Solar energy conversion, hydrogen production & storage, electric/hybrid vehicles Director, Clean Energy Research Center
Pritish Mukherjee USF Hybrid quantum dot based solar devices, thermoelectric materials, superconductors Professor, Department of Physics
Xiaomei Jiang USF Material properties of solar cells, light emitting diodes and thin film transistors Associate Professor, Department of Physics
Yogi Goswami USF Solar thermal, thermodynamics, heat transfer, HVAC, photovoltaics, hydrogen, fuel cells Professor, Chemical Engineering, Director, Clean Energy Research Center
Tom Weller USF Design, modeling and characterization of high frequency antenna Chair, Electrical Engineering

Infrastructure, Facilities, and Other

  • Florida Solar Energy Center (
  • The PV and TE Process Development and Integration Laboratory at FSEC and NSTC
  • Clean Energy Research Center (
  • University of Florida High-Performance Computing Center (
  • Thin Film Electronic Materials Laboratory at USF; includes full capabilities for solar cell fabrication and characterization
  • 512 processor computer cluster
  • Pulsed solar simulators SPI-SUN 660 and SPI-SUN 460 SLP for indoor testing and power rating of PV modules
  • Indoor and outdoor test facilities for PV module performance certification
  • Inverter test facility for performance characterization and reliability evaluation of residential grid-connected inverters
  • Battery test facility for performance evaluation of storage batteries
  • Distributed Energy Resources Test Facility (DERTF) for evaluation of utilization efficiency of microturbines and stationary fuel cells in combined heat and power (CHP) applications.
  • Polymer-based solar cells
  • Solar cell fabrication systems including spin coaters, nitrogen glove boxes and vacuum evaporators
  • Sputtering systems for metal and oxide deposition
  • Solar simulators and device characterization systems for PV measurements
  • Cryostat for low temperature measurements
  • Nitrogen laser and diode pumped solid state laser
  • Dimatrix X-Y-Z electronicmaterial ink jet
  • WS-650-23NPP-LITE-OND. Automatic spin coating unit: Customized system capable of coating Photoresists, Anti-Reflectives, Polyimides, Metallo-Organics, Dopants, Silica Films, and Most Organic and Aqueous Solutions.
  • Customized Small Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor system used for PV basic research
  • Nordson MARCH Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor System for industrial scale prototype
  • Tabletop Spraying and Coating System for Solar Cell Manufacturing: Fully enclosed XYZ tabletop ultrasonic spraying system designed for depositing solutions, suspensions, and nanosuspensions.
  • Lab-Line Duo-Vac ovens: Controlled oven for dark sample exposure at elevated temperatures
  • Homogenizers and Ultrasonicator; IKA KS-250 Mechanical Shaker
  • Shimadzu UV-VIS-NIR Spectrophotometer; Multi-Wavelength Abbe Refractometers; Microscope and Micromanipulator
  • Customized External and Internal Quantum Efficiency System: Measures internal and external quantum efficiency (IQE) of multijunction and novel PV devices.
  • Solar Simulators for characterization of novel developed solar cells
  • Oriel Sol3A simulators certified to IEC 60904-9 Edition 2 (2007), JIS C 8912, and ASTM E 927-05 standards for Spectral Match, Non-Uniformity of Irradiance, and Temporal Instability
  • Abet Solar Simulators 1000 Watt Full Spectrum Solar Simulators
  • Oriel 1-kW Solar Simulators, UV Solar Simulators —Accelerated exposure of samples in UV range to 450 nm with an integrated 300 to 400 nm intensity of 2 UV suns
  • Full-spectrum Solar Simulator—Xenon arc; exposure in UV-visible to IR range
  • High-Bay Accelerated Testing Chamber
  • Indoor Accelerated Exposure Testing Laboratory
  • Complete PV indoor and outdoor IV curve tracing Solar Cell and Modules Characterization – Software & Hardware
  • SILVACO/ATLAS: Novel approach for the modeling of advanced PV devices using the virtual wafer fabrication tools.
  • Nanotechnology Research and Education Center (NREC) have 1250 sq.ft of clean room space fully equipped with fabrication and characterization equipment. The resources of this center include tools for thermal processing (BTI furnace bank, LPCVD, RTA), plasma processing (deposition, RIE, RF & ECR deposition and etching tools), thin film processing (e-beam and thermal evaporators), lithography (double sided mask aligner, dual track spin system, Nanometer Pattern Generation System equipped JEOL 840 SEM e-beam lithography), Characterization/metrology tools include s800 Hitachi- SEM and EDX, Philips XRD pro, Nanoscope AFM, TEM, FIB, DRIE. Additionally, an optical profiler Wyko NT9100 was recently procured for contactless profiling and 3D mapping.
  • The USF College of Engineering operates a computer network comprised of more than 150 high-end PCs and several high-performance Sun workstations for intensive computations. All of the computing facilities are freely accessible to execute the proposed research.
  • USF: BioMEMS and Microsystems lab includes a dedicated clean room. Fabrication equipment present in the lab includes all aspects of device development including tools for thin-film deposition – RF/DC Sputtering System, Denton DV 502 Thermal Evaporator, AJA PVDX 1800-E HV E-beam Evaporator, imaging – Veeco Dektak 6M surface Profiler, Olympus Optical Microscope with Labview image capture, Photo-reduction tool for rapid mask production, fabrication – EV 620 mask aligner with backside alignment, Laminar flow exhaust hoods for etching and lithography, Laurell Spinner with several high-resolution photoresist for lithography, Plasma Therm for photoresist ashing and High temperature open tube oxidation, annealing furnace, packaging tools – Logitech PM5 Precision Lapping machine, Kulicke & Soffa 4500AD Digital Ball bonder, Wafer dicing tool and measurement and characterizing systems – Cascade Microtech Summit 11562 Probe Station with Atto-Guard protection, Agilent 4294A(40-110MHz) Precision Impedance Analyzer, Keithley 2400, 2000 – Current sources and multimeters
  • Various thin film deposition tools including vacuum thermal evaporators, spin coaters, ink-jet printer, spray coater, and glove box
  • Complete solar cell characterization equipment
  • Thin Films Lab for the fabrication of CIGSeS and CIGS2 thin-film photovoltaic solar cells and photo-electrochemical cells. The facilities have potential of serving as a nucleus of a pilot plant for fabrication of CIGSeS minimodules. With the design and installation of a large-area, dual-chamber magnetron-sputtering unit (Figure) the substrate size has been increased to 6” x 4”.
  • Laser scribing setup is available at Centre for Research in Optics and Laser (CREOL). The Nd:YAG laser is from Lee Laser and the model number is 8150MQ. The CO2 Laser is from Coherent and the model number is GEM-Q600.
  • Set-ups for the precise measurement of quantum efficiency (QE) and I-V characteristics. Surface profilometer for measurements of the thickness and roughness of thin films. The group has developed software routines for importing and analyzing raw JV, QE, CV, AES, and XPS data in spreadsheets to readily carry out calculations and plot curves.
  • The Materials Characterization Facility (MCF) at UCF is a user facility with state-of-the-art equipment for chemical and structural characterization of materials and their surfaces.
  • Teraliters to P room A IONIX 1.7 MV Tandetron Rutherford Backscattering System (RBS) for depth profiling.
  • A JEOL 733 Electron Microprobe with four wavelength dispersive spectrometers.
  • Two Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometers (Cameca IMS-3F and PHI Adept 1010)
  • Two systems for X–ray photoelectron spectroscopy (Physical Electronics 5400 ESCA and Physical Electronics 560 ESCA in combination with Auger Electron Spectroscopy).
  • A Physical Electronics 600 Scanning Auger Microprobe.
  • Two Scanning Electron Microscopes (JEOL 6400F with field emission source, 2 nm resolution and energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer) and a variable-pressure Hitachi S3500N.
  • A FEI 200 Focused Ion Beam (FIB) system for device modification and micro-machining and for the preparation of cross-sectional samples used in transmission electron microscopy (TEM).
  • A Fischione 1010 Ion Mill for thinning of cross-sectional TEM samples using Ar ions.
  • A Tecnai F30 for high-resolution TEM and high-resolution atomic number-contrast scanning TEM and electron holography. The system is equipped with an EDS system and a Gatan Imaging filter for elemental mapping at sub-nanometer resolution.
  • Equipment for the measurement of the local optically induced current (OBIC) is currently set up at the MCF. A Labview program has been developed to move the sample stage and acquire data from the lock-in amplifier at each scan step. The microstructures associated with these variations will be investigated by TEM.
  • PMEE Reactor for CIGS Deposition: A Plasma-Assisted Migration-Enhanced (PMEE) reactor designed and built at the University of Florida is available for CIGS film growth. The system is essentially a molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) system where the substrates rotate on a donut-shaped molybdenum platen that transports them through different deposition zones, effectively exposing the substrate to the mass fluxes produced by five sources. The system also features a fluxless zone designed to introduce a relaxation process that leads to the migration-enhanced-epitaxy mode of operation. The deposition takes place under ultra-high-vacuum conditions (typically in the low 10-8 Torr range) in a cylindrical bell-jar. Elemental Cu, In, and Ga fluxes are generated in thermal effusion sources built by Applied-Epi, with conical shaped crucibles and free evaporating surfaces. A double-oven thermal cracker is installed for the evaporation and cracking of Se. A unique custom-designed plasma cracker is also available to provide highly reactive fluxes of Se and S without requiring excessive temperatures. A fifth small source installed in the load-lock zone used for incorporation of dopants, such as Na.
  • Solar-cell Characterization Laboratory: Dark- and photo- current-voltage (I-V), quantum efficiency (QE), capacitance-voltage (C-V), capacitance-frequency (C-F), and admittance measurements; spectral responsivity measurement system based on a grating monochromator.
  • Semiconductor Characterization Laboratory: Necolian Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer; DLTS system; computer-controlled C-V, C-t, I-V systems; two Oriel grating monochromator systems; Oxford closed cycle cryogenic system for dark I-V and spectral response.
  • Microelectronics Processing Facility: 2,000 sq. ft. staffed by three permanent technicians; houses equipment for device and integrated-circuit fabrication for photovoltaics, microelectronic, and photonic applications; area for mask making, a class 10 clean room and an area for photolithography, a diffusion and oxidation area, a metallization via E-beam and sputtering systems area, and a packaging and characterization area.
  • Oxide Sputtering System: Perkin-Elmer 4400 series sputtering system with three RF planar diode sources, each handling an 8 inch target in a sputter down geometry and fitted with a magnetron. A stainless steal, load-locked vacuum, supported by a CTI 8 cryopump and a Leybold Trivac 60cfm rotary vane pump. Two mass flow controllers regulate introduction of Ar and O2 gas, to generate a controlled ambient over a 2-150 mTorr pressure range. A ZnO:Al target is used for depositing the transparent conducting electrode top-window layer.
  • Rapid Thermal-Processing System: 4100 HEATPULSE Rapid Thermal Processing system by AG associates located in clean room environment. Single-wafer, cassette-to-cassette rapid thermal processor, capable of processing in an inert or corrosive ambient. Includes a Heating Chamber, Quartz Isolation Tube, System Controller, Robot, Gas Control Electronics, ULPA Filtration System, Cooling Water Manifold, and Temperature Measurement Instruments. The 208-V, 1200-w tungsten halogen lamps are arranged in a bank of 10 above and 11 below the isolation tube.
  • Inductively Coupled Plasma Emission Spectroscopy: Perkin Elmer Optima 3200 RL
  • Major analytical facilities at UF: Advanced facilities available at the University of Florida in the Major Analytical Instrumentation Center (MAIC) and the Nanofabrication Facility for characterization of the microstructure and composition of thin films.