Message from Center Director
The solution to the global energy challenge requires revolutionary breakthroughs in areas such as the conversion of solar energy into electrical power or chemical fuels. The principles for capturing solar light and converting it into electrical charges have not changed for more than four decades. Previous advances in this area have mostly relied on iterative improvements in material quality and/or device engineering aspects including, for example, the use of tandem architectures. However, it is widely recognized that growing demands of our society for clean energy can only be met through “disruptive” technologies that utilize new physical principles and, likely, new materials for approaching thermodynamic efficiency limits in solar-energy conversion. This represents one of the biggest fundamental challenges of modern science, which can only be addressed via a strong interdisciplinary effort. The goal of our Center is to build such an effort with a focus on novel concepts for conversion of solar light into electric current or chemical fuels through rational design of nanoscale structures guided by theory and modeling. We envision that this work will build practical foundations for generation-III solar energy conversion technologies that produce high conversion efficiencies using non-thermalized carriers, inexpensive scalable structures, and routine chemical fabrication methods.
Victor I. Klimov
To strengthen our efforts and to attack the problem of high-efficiency solar-energy conversion comprehensively, the LANL-NREL partnership is enhanced by the participation of 5 academic institutions nationwide: University of California - Irvine, University of Minnesota, George Mason University, University of Chicago, and University of Pennsylvania.
The tremendous potential represented by a large, diverse group of talented scientists within the Center demands an organization scheme that fosters cooperation and communication of results and ideas, without cumbersome administrative obligations that detract from the ability of individuals to focus on progress. Supporting the Director, Klimov, in operational duties is an Executive Committee (EC), composed of science managers from LANL and NREL. The EC represents a channel for direct interaction of CASP with the two host National Laboratories and their respective management and infrastructures. In addition to handling interface issues, the EC assists with operational oversight, including safety and environmental stewardship, personnel actions for continuity and removing barriers to the fluid exchange of personnel and resources between Center sites.