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Iowa Power Fund advances researcher’s long quest for efficient solar power
Date:2/17/2009

l said organic molecules substances that are found in living things and that contain carbon-hydrogen bonds are very good at absorbing light and could be the future of solar technology.

Working with Dalal on the project are Rana Biswas, an adjunct research associate professor of physics and astronomy; Sumit Chaudhary, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering; Malika Jeffries-EL, an assistant professor of chemistry; Jaeyoun Kim, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering; Joseph Shinar, professor and chair of physics and astronomy; and Ruth Shinar, an adjunct professor of electrical and computer engineering.

The researchers are collaborating with PowerFilm Inc. of Ames and Micron Technology Inc. of Boise, Idaho.

The project includes work in the maturing field of thin film silicon-based photovoltaic technology. And it includes work in the emerging field of organic semiconductors.

Dalal said Iowa State has hired the people and is developing the expertise to make it a leader in the research and development of the new technology.

"Looking 20 years out it's very clear that organic semiconductors will be a major player in photovoltaic technology," he said. "The technology is in its infancy. And if we don't nurture a technology in its infancy, how do we grow a mature technology? I'm hoping Iowa State can become a leader in this field and help make a smooth transition from our current technology."

That current technology has been a booming business. The Solar Energy Industries Association based in Washington, D.C., reported that the photovoltaic market in the United States grew by more than 48 percent in 2007 and U.S. solar manufacturing grew by 74 percent in 2007. The U.S. currently ranks fourth in the world for installed solar power (behind Germany, Japan and Spain). Solarbuzz, an international solar energy research and consulting company based in San Francisco, reports the phot
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Contact: Vikram Dalal
vdalal@iastate.edu
515-294-1077
Iowa State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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