My research focuses on simulation based design, optimization, and experimental evaluation of advanced materials manufacturing processes. With regard to the seven UMERC focus areas, our interest is in the development of photovoltaic cells for advanced solar energy conversion.
One of our major areas of activity is in the development of next-generation thin film chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and atomic-layer deposition (ALD) systems. We have developed and tested new reactor design concepts which enable explicit manipulation of the gas-phase composition across the substrate surface during processing, making combinatorial CVD studies and other novel operating modes (including deposition on extremely large substrates) possible. Current work relevant to solar cell manufacturing includes Si CVD, epitaxial growth of III-V compounds, and ALD of transparent conducting oxides.
An important tool developed in our research group in close collaboration with industrial partners is a response-surface modeling methodology applicable to the optimization and control of film properties across the entire substrate. Currently, we are investigating the use of this modeling approach to understanding and controlling nonuniformities produced during the silicon wafer sawing process for multicrystalline silicon solar cell module production.