2nd Kyoto University-Inamori Foundation Joint Kyoto Prize Symposium
July 11-12, 2015
Theme “Technology / Genetic Science / Arts” - Tracing the Path of Evolution, in Holistic Contemplation of Present and Future Civilization - (Finished)

Harry A. Atwater

Harry A. Atwater

Howard Hughes Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science, California Institute of Technology
・Solar Energy

Title of Presentation

“Photonic Design for High Efficiency Photovoltaics”

With the explosive growth of photovoltaics over the last decade, the landscape of solar photovoltaic technology has been fundamentally altered, with profound implications for the fundamental research objectives that can ultimately yield significant impacts on future photovoltaic technologies. Crystalline silicon has dominated all other existing photovoltaic technologies, and silicon modules are now available at costs of <$0.80/Watt, with high efficiency (cell: η = 17-25%; module: η =15-22%). These developments have thus moved the advanced research frontiers towards concepts that can enable ultrahigh efficiency (η = 30-50% and beyond). Achievement of efficiencies in this regime requires addressing fundamental optical principles and efficient utilization of the full solar spectrum. Making significant progress dictates an approach combining i) fundamental principles governing limits to solar conversion efficiency ii) semiconducting optoelectronic materials with very high radiative efficiency) and iii) new electromagnetic design ideas such as metasurfaces, photonic crystals and transformation optics. We discuss photonic design approaches for light trapping for broadband absorption and manipulation of the angular distribution of emitted photons to increase open circuit voltage and ‘full spectrum’ spectrum splitting photonics to mitigate efficiency losses from carrier thermalization.


Web Site URL
A brief Biography

Harry Atwater is the Howard Hughes Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science at the California Institute of Technology. Professor Atwater received his B. S., M. S. and Ph.D. degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology respectively in 1981, 1983 and 1987. He held the IBM Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard University from 1987-88, and has been a member of the Caltech faculty since 1988.

Atwater currently serves as Director of the DOE Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, and is also Director of the Resnick Institute for Science, Energy and Sustainability, Caltech’s largest endowed research program. Atwater’s scientific interests have two themes: photovoltaics and solar energy as well as plasmonics and optical metamaterials. His group has created new high efficiency solar cell designs, and have developed principles for light management in solar cells. Atwater is an early pioneer in nanophotonics and plasmonics; he gave the name to the field of plasmonics in 2001. He has authored or co-authored more than 400 publications cited in aggregate > 31,000 times and his group’s advances in the solar energy and plasmonics field have been reported in Scientific American, Science, Nature Materials, Nature Photonics and Advanced Materials.

He is co-founder and chief technical advisor for Alta Devices, a venture-backed company in Santa Clara, CA, that holds the current world record for 1 Sun single junction solar cell efficiency and that is currently transitioning high efficiency/low cost GaAs photovoltaics technology to manufacturing and large-scale production. He serves as Editor in Chief for the journal ACS Photonics, and is Associate Editor for the IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics, and in 2006 he founded the Gordon Research Conference on Plasmonics, which he served as chair in 2008.

Professor Atwater has worked extensively as a consultant for industry and government, and has actively served the materials community, including Material Research Society Meeting Chair in 1997, AVS Electronic Materials and Processing Division Chair in 1999, Materials Research Society President in 2000, and Board of Trustees of the Gordon Research Conferences. He also teaches graduate level Applied Physics classes at Caltech in optoelectronics, solid-state physics and device physics.

Details of selected Awards and Honors
A list of selected Publications

1.“Path entanglement of surface plasmons”, J.S. Fakonas, A. Mitskovets, H.A. Atwater

2.“Two-plasmon quantum interference”, J.S. Fakonas, H. Lee, Y.A. Kelaita, and H.A. Atwater, Nature Photonics 8 (4), 317-320 (2014).

3.“Nanoscale Conducting Oxide PlasMOStor” H.W. Lee, G. Papadakis, S.P. Burgos, K. Chander, A. Kriesch, R. Pala, and H.A. Atwater, Nano letters 14 (11), 6463-6468 1 (2014).

4.“Tunable large resonant absorption in a midinfrared graphene Salisbury screen”, M.S. Jang, V.W. Brar, M.C. Sherrott, J.J. Lopez, L. Kim, S. Kim, M. Choi, and H.A. Atwater, Physical Review B 90 (16), 165409 (2014).

5.“Highly confined tunable mid-infrared plasmonics in graphene nanoresonators”, V.W. Brar, M.S. Jang, M.C. Sherrott, J.J .Lopez, H.A. Atwater, Nano letters 13 (6), 2541-2547 (2013).

6.“Plasmonic color filters for CMOS image sensor applications”, S. Yokogawa, S.P. Burgos, H.A. Atwater, Nano letters 12 (8), 4349-4354 (2012).

7.“Photonic design principles for ultrahigh-efficiency photovoltaics”, A. Polman, and H.A. Atwater, Nature Materials pp 174-177 (2012).

8.“Enhanced absorption and carrier collection in Si wire arrays for photovoltaic applications”, MD Kelzenberg, S.W. Boettcher, J.A. Petykiewicz, Nature Materials 9 pp 239-244 (2010).

9.“Plasmonics for improved photovoltaic devices” H. A. Atwater & A. Polman, Nature Materials 9, pp. 205-213 (2010).

10.“PlasMOStor: A Metal-Oxide-Si Field Effect Plasmonic Modulator” J.A. Dionne, K. Diest and HA Atwater Nano Letters 9 pp. 897-902 (2009).

11.“Photovoltaic measurements in single-nanowire silicon solar cells”, M.D. Kelzenberg, D.B. Turner-Evans, B.M. Kayes, Nano Letters 8 pp 710-714 (2008).

12.“Plasmonic nanoparticle enhanced light absorption in GaAs solar cells”, K. Nakayama, K.Tanabe, H.A. Atwater, Applied Physics Letters 93 Article Number: 121904 (2008).

13.“Negative refraction at visible frequencies”, Lezec, Henri J.; Dionne, Jennifer A.; Atwater, Harry A, Science 316, pp. 430-432 (2007).

14.“Local detection of electromagnetic energy transport below the diffraction limit in metal nanoparticle plasmon waveguides”, S.A. Maier, P.G. Kik, H.A. Atwater, S. Meltzer, E. Harel, B.E. Koel, AAG Requicha, Nature Materials 2 pp 229-232 (2003).

15.“Plasmonics – A route to nanoscale optical devices”, S.A. Maier, M.L.Brongersma, P.G. Kik, S. Meltzer, A.A.G. Requicha, H.A. Atwater, Advanced Materials 13, 1501 (2001).