Facing the Terawatt challenge to provide primary energy globally from renewable sources, it is desirable to develop novel, earth-abundant low-cost materials for solar energy conversion, including both solar electricity and fuel generation. In photovoltaics, the diversification of commercially viable technologies with independent supply chains could increase the competition, reduce costs, and mitigate market volatility. A wide range of earth-abundant materials are being studied for their potential in solar energy applications, but it remains a significant challenge to achieve device efficiencies high enough to provide a proof-of-principle for commercial viability. Similarly, further breakthroughs in photoelectrochemical conversion are required to enable widespread commercial applications. To achieve sustainable development and facilitate the deployment of solar technology on a global scale, there is increasing interest to overcome the scientific and technological barriers present in these promising earth-abundant materials to enable their application in cost-effective solar energy conversion devices.
This symposium will provide an interdisciplinary forum for discussion between materials scientists, physicists, chemists, and device engineers whose common goal is to advance the applications of emerging earth-abundant materials in solar energy conversion devices: photovoltaics and solar fuels systems. Contributions will provide new insight into fundamental material properties and describe the latest advances in applying a wide range of novel materials, i.e. those outside of the scope of Si, CdTe, and CIGS. Topics of interest range from basic materials physics to device integration, including, but not limited to, absorber materials, buffer layers, electrodes, interfaces, grain boundaries, defect characteristics and electronic structure. Both theoretical and experimental contributions are welcome, as well as presentations on predictive and/or high-throughput screening techniques. A wide range of absorber materials will be featured, some of which may include SnS, Cu2O, FeS2, Zn3P2, Cu2S, Cu3N, Sb2S3, Bi2S3, Fe2O3, WSe2, MoS2, Co3O4, WO3, ternary ZnSn(N,P)2, Cu2SnS3, Cu4SnS4, Fe2(Si,Ge)S4, CuSbS2 and related multinary compounds such as Cu2ZnSnS4, hybrid perovskites, and others. Especially encouraged are contributions addressing device design with emerging materials (e.g., absorber/buffer combinations), and those describing previously unrecognized absorber, buffer, or contact materials.