Photo credit: NASA
University of Arkansas researchers are developing the next generation of photovoltaic
devices to be used in space missions, such as the International Space Station.
(September 17, 2015) Two University of Arkansas researchers working on a promising new material to create more efficient solar cells will lead a corps of Arkansas scientists chosen to develop the next generation of photovoltaic devices used in space missions.
Shui-Qing “Fisher” Yu, associate professor of electrical engineering, will serve as principal scientific investigator on the multi-institutional project. The team will develop photovoltaic devices made of silicon-germanium-tin, a powerful semiconductor that has been proven to increase efficiency in electronic devices that source, detect and control light.
The project is made possible by a $750,000 NASA/EPSCoR grant to the Arkansas Space Grant Consortium Office at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. EPSCoR — Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research — is a funding program to increase state participation in competitive aerospace-related research activities.
“We are excited that our material research has been recognized by NASA,” Yu said. “Now we have the opportunity to move forward developing a high-performance solar cell for space applications.”
Yu will collaborate with Hameed Naseem, professor of electrical engineering; Mansour Mortazavi, physics professor at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff; and Allan Thomas, physics professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Yu, Naseem and Mortazavi previously received a $725,000 grant from the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research to work on similar technology.