Shankari Nadupalli, PhD student at the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST)

Explaining their research in less than 90 seconds: 8 young researchers from Luxembourg took up the challenge in the second edition of the video series "My research in 90 seconds". In this episode, Shankari Nadupalli presents her work on a new generation of solar cells! More about this in the video - and in the text below.

Author: Shankari Nadupalli
Video: Jean-Paul Bertemes (FNR) & Moast Creative Studios

Hi, I am Shankari Nadupalli. I work in the material research and technology department in the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST). We work on novel materials to improve the current solar cells.

When you look at the rooftops, what you usually see are solar cells that are made of silicon. They are abundant and hence very cheap. But the efficiency of such solar cells are below 30%. And we want to improve this efficiency. 

We work on a novel material called Lithium Niobate. It is a crystal, which has a unique property called the “bulk photovoltaic effect”. As the name suggests, the power generated from it is enormous.

But Lithium Niobate as such does not absorb all of the sunlight, meaning that only a portion of the wavelengths are absorbed. To improve the absorption, we add elements like iron, so that it can absorb all of the sunlight and make the best of it to generate current.

Our research team is studying the mechanisms of power generation in such materials, to improve their efficiency and find more materials like Lithium Niobate.

Our goal is it to make it possible in the future to have houses run entirely by such solar cells.

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