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GCEP investigators win international prize for renewable energy research
Pair recognized for their cutting-edge work on plasmonic photovoltaicsMay 28, 2012
A major international prize in renewable energy research has been awarded jointly to Albert Polman of the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM) and Harry Atwater of the California Institute of Technology for innovative work that was funded in part by the Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP). The collaborators will share the € 200.000 euros (approximately $250,000 US) Eni Renewable and Non-conventional Energy Prize to be presented at a ceremony in Rome on June 15, 2012, in the presence of the president of the Italian Republic.
“We are grateful to GCEP for providing significant funding for our plasmonic photovoltaics research and helping us earn this incredible honor,” Polman said.
Plasmonic photovoltaics are engineered metallic structures that localize light and can be used to enhance the absorption of sunlight in ultrathin semiconductors. In 2007, Polman and Atwater (with co-principal investigator Mark Brongersma of Stanford) embarked on a GCEP-sponsored research program to create plasmonic structures for use in inorganic thin-film photovoltaics. The research team investigated how plasmonics could be used to reduce the thickness of the active layer in solar cells, creating low-cost, high-efficiency devices that are thin, light and flexible.
More than a dozen journal publications have resulted from their recently completed GCEP program. Their final GCEP technical report listing five key results is available online.
“GCEP is delighted that the outstanding scientific contribution of this team has been recognized by this prestigious award from Eni,” commented GCEP Director Sally Benson.
The Eni Award was established to stimulate innovative energy and environmental research and to create new generations of researchers. For more information, see the May 21, 2012, FOM press release.
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