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The lowdown on emerging technologies at Applied Industrial Optics 2015

Posted by Arlene Smith | Apr 2, 2015 10:09:00 AM

Applied Industrial Optics (AIO) 2015 is set to take place June 7-11, 2015 in Arlington, VA. I’m excited to be back blogging my experience as an AIO attendee and also, for the first time, as a Program Chair.

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Topics: AIO Meeting, Applied Industrial Optics

Summary and outlook for Light, Energy and the Environment Congress

Posted by Baohua Jia | Dec 15, 2014 9:13:55 AM

As a researcher working in the photonics field, I found this Congress was extremely useful. I attended many solar energy related conferences before and I had been always struggling to understand the technique jargons in solar cell research. And I wouldn’t bother to record so many details on thin-film deposition, which are highly equipment dependent. This time I am very glad to find that the two communities, namely the solar cell and the photonics people started to talk the same language. To my mind, having the right language of communication can lead to the identification of the challenges, which has already pushed more than halfway through towards solving the problem.

Also during this conference I found lots of conventional optical instrument, for example the confocal optical microscope and near-field optical microscope has been innovatively used to characterise the light-solar cell interaction and obtain unique and localised information. This is a really positive indication that the researchers in both fields are joining their efforts to solve the problem from the very fundamental point of view. To this end, I am very optimistic about the energy future.

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Topics: Renewable Energy, Renewable Energy & the Environment

Day Four: Nobel Laureate addressed Solar Energy in a Sustainable World

Posted by Baohua Jia | Dec 15, 2014 9:11:00 AM

A bright solar future: efficiency and cost are not the only challenges

In the first plenary session of the Congress today, the Nobel Laureate, Professor Steven Chu presented a talk on “Solar Energy in a Sustainable World”. He reminded the audience that almost all energy formats including fossil fuel, wind, fission, geothermal energy are ultimately derived from the sun. He also raised the very important but often neglected point that from system point of view the overall up-take of the solar energy depends not only on the efficiency and cost of the solar cells, as we normally concerned in the academic world. Rather, the reliability of the energy source plays a significant role. If the energy fluctuation is larger than 5%, it is unlikely for the suppliers to choose this source. This is why the current research on the highly efficient batteries is crucial for pushing solar energy as a stable main stream energy source.

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Topics: Renewable Energy, Renewable Energy & the Environment

Day Three: Panel Discussion-the Future of Energy with Light

Posted by Baohua Jia | Dec 15, 2014 9:10:00 AM

Roll-to-roll flexible OLED lighting panel mass production

Day three of the Congress started with a very fascinating talk given by Toshihiko Iwasaki, Konica Minolta, Japan. He reviewed comprehensively the status of OLED lighting activities at KONICA MINOLTA as well as the advancements in OLED materials and systems. He also presented the latest development on all-phosphorescent white OLED device, progress on solution-processed OLED technologies and the prospects for future development. I was very impressed to see the world’s best efficacy OLED, which reaches a efficacy of 139 lm/W. Most exciting of all is the commission of the World’s first roll-to-roll OLED mass production plant, which could produce about 1 million panels per month. This is certainly a very encouraging news for all the researchers working in the OLED field.

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Highlights for Day Two: Light, Energy and Environment Congress

Posted by Baohua Jia | Dec 3, 2014 10:09:00 PM

On the second day of the Congress, a number of talks attracted my attention. I would like to share some of them.

Impact of disorder on solar cell performance

In a talk given by Ulrich W. Paetzold and co-workers from the Institute of Energy and Climate Research (IEK-5)-Photovoltaics, Forschungszentrum Julich GmbH, Germany, disorder in nanophotonic thin-film solar cells was examined by near-field scanning optical microscope (NSOM). The authors found that disorders in nanoscale grating structures can improve the light management effect for a broad range of angles of incidence. It was a very interesting approach to use NSOM to closely look into the light interaction with the nanostructures, in particular some local mode distributions. However, it should be cautious to conclude that disorder benefits the solar cells performance because a fair comparing system between ordered or disordered system is challenging to build up, as suggested by the authors.

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