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Optimization of Front Contact Design on Nickel-Plated Si Solar Cells

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As global population and demand for electrical power increase, humanity is faced with the growing challenge of harnessing and distributing enough energy to sustain the developing world. Currently, fossil fuels (coal
atural gas) are our main sources of electricity. However,

As global population and demand for electrical power increase, humanity is faced with the growing challenge of harnessing and distributing enough energy to sustain the developing world. Currently, fossil fuels (coal
atural gas) are our main sources of electricity. However, their cost is increasing, they are nonrenewable, and they are very harmful to the environment. Thus, capacity expansion in the renewable energy sector must be realized to offset higher energy demand and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Solar energy represents a practical solution, as installed global solar capacity has been increasing exponentially over the past 2 decades. However, even with government incentives, solar energy price ($/kWh) continues to be highly dependent on political climate and raw material (silicon and silver) cost. To realistically and cost effectively meet the projected expansions within the solar industry, silver must be replaced with less costly and more abundant metals (such as copper) in the front-grid metallization process of photovoltaic cells. Copper, while offering both higher achievable efficiencies and a raw material cost nearly 100 times cheaper than silver, has inherent disadvantages. Specifically, copper diffuses rapidly into the silicon substrate, requires more complex and error-prone processing steps, and tends to have less adhesive strength, reducing panel robustness. In this study, nickel deposition via sputtering was analyzed, as well as overall potential of nickel as a seed layer for copper plating, which also provides a barrier layer to copper diffusion in silicon. Thermally-formed nickel silicide also reduces contact resistivity, increasing cell efficiency. It was found that at 400 \u00B0C, ideal nickel silicide formation occurred. By computer modeling, contact resistivity was found to have a significant impact on cell efficiency (up to 1.8%). Finally, sputtering proved useful to analyze nickel silicide formation, but costs and time requirements prevent it from being a practical industrial-scale metallization method.

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2017-05

All About Solar

Description

This is a lectures series on photovoltaics. As the need for electrical energy rises, mankind has struggled to meet its need in a reliable lasting way. Throughout this struggle, solar energy has come to the foreground as a complete solution.

This is a lectures series on photovoltaics. As the need for electrical energy rises, mankind has struggled to meet its need in a reliable lasting way. Throughout this struggle, solar energy has come to the foreground as a complete solution. However, it has many drawbacks and needs a lot of development. In addition, the general public is unaware of how solar energy works, how it is made, and how it stands economically. This series of lectures answering those three questions. After two years doing photovoltaic research, and an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering, enough expertise has been acquired present on at a late high-school to early college level. Education is key to improving the popularity of using solar energy and the popularity of investing in photovoltaic research. Solar energy is a viable option to satisfy our energy crisis because the materials it requires can quickly be acquired, and there is enough of material to provide a global solution. In addition, the amount of solar energy that hits the surface of the earth in a day is orders of magnitude more than the amount of energy we require. The main goal of this project is to have an effective accessible tool to teach people about solar. Thus, the lectured will be posted on pveducation.com, YouTube, the Barrett repository, and the QUSST website. The content was acquired in four ways. The first way is reading up on the current papers and journals describing the new developments in photovoltaics. The second part is getting in contact with Stuart Bowden and Bill Daukser at Arizona State University's Solar Power Lab as well as the other faculty associated with the Solar Power Lab. There is quite a bit of novel research going on at their lab, as well as a student run pilot line that is actively building solar cells. The third way is reading about solar device physics using device physics textbooks and the PVEducation website made by Stuart Bowden. The forth way is going into ASU's solar power lab.

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2017-05

All About Solar

Description

This is a lectures series on photovoltaics. As the need for electrical energy rises, mankind has struggled to meet its need in a reliable lasting way. Throughout this struggle, solar energy has come to the foreground as a complete solution.

This is a lectures series on photovoltaics. As the need for electrical energy rises, mankind has struggled to meet its need in a reliable lasting way. Throughout this struggle, solar energy has come to the foreground as a complete solution. However, it has many drawbacks and needs a lot of development. In addition, the general public is unaware of how solar energy works, how it is made, and how it stands economically. This series of lectures answering those three questions.

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2017-05

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LED Bike Wheel

Description

The apparent phenomenon of the human eye retaining images for fractions of a second after the light source has gone is known as Persistence of Vision. While its causes are not fully understood, it can be taken advantage of in

The apparent phenomenon of the human eye retaining images for fractions of a second after the light source has gone is known as Persistence of Vision. While its causes are not fully understood, it can be taken advantage of in order to create illusions which trick the mind into perceiving something which, in actuality, is very different from what the mind portrays. It has motivated many creative engineering technologies in the past and is the core for how we perceive motion in movies and animations. This project applies the persistence of vision concept to a lesser explored medium; the wheel of a moving bicycle. The motion of the wheel, along with intelligent control of discrete LEDs, create vibrant illusions of solid lines and shapes. These shapes make up the image to be displayed on the bike wheel. The rotation of the bike wheel can be compensated for in order to produce a standing image (or images) of the user's choosing. This thesis details how the mechanism for conducting the individual LEDs was created in order to produce a device which is capable of delivering colorful, standing images of the user's choosing.

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2016-05

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Solar Powered Quadcopter

Description

The purpose of the solar powered quadcopter is to join together the growing technologies of photovoltaics and quadcopters, creating a single unified device where the technologies harmonize to produce a new product with abilities beyond those of a traditional battery

The purpose of the solar powered quadcopter is to join together the growing technologies of photovoltaics and quadcopters, creating a single unified device where the technologies harmonize to produce a new product with abilities beyond those of a traditional battery powered drone. Specifically, the goal is to take the battery-only flight time of a quadcopter loaded with a solar array and increase that flight time by 33% with additional power provided by solar cells. The major concepts explored throughout this project are quadcopter functionality and capability and solar cell power production. In order to combine these technologies, the solar power and quadcopter components were developed and analyzed individually before connecting the solar array to the quadcopter circuit and testing the design as a whole. Several solar copter models were initially developed, resulting in multiple unique quadcopter and solar cell array designs which underwent preliminary testing before settling on a finalized design which proved to be the most effective and underwent final timed flight tests. Results of these tests are showing that the technologies complement each other as anticipated and highlight promising results for future development in this area, in particular the development of a drone running on solar power alone. Applications for a product such as this are very promising in many fields, including the industries of power, defense, consumer goods and services, entertainment, marketing, and medical. Also, becoming a more popular device for UAV hobbyists, such developments would be very appealing for leisure flying and personal photography purposes as well.

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2015-12

Usage of a Texas Instruments Smart SensorTag for Personal Applications: Fall Detection and Prevention to Enhance Elderly Living

Description

Every engineer is responsible for completing a capstone project as a culmination of accredited university learning to demonstrate technical knowledge and enhance interpersonal skills, like teamwork, communication, time management, and problem solving. This project, with three or four engineers working

Every engineer is responsible for completing a capstone project as a culmination of accredited university learning to demonstrate technical knowledge and enhance interpersonal skills, like teamwork, communication, time management, and problem solving. This project, with three or four engineers working together in a group, emphasizes not only the importance of technical skills acquired through laboratory procedures and coursework, but the significance of soft skills as one transitions from a university to a professional workplace; it also enhances the understanding of an engineer's obligation to ethically improve society by harnessing technical knowledge to bring about change. The CC2541 Smart SensorTag is a device manufactured by Texas Instruments that focuses on the use of wireless sensors to create low energy applications, or apps; it is equipped with Bluetooth Smart, which enables it to communicate wirelessly with similar devices like smart phones and computers, assisting greatly in app development. The device contains six built-in sensors, which can be utilized to track and log personal data in real-time; these sensors include a gyroscope, accelerometer, humidifier, thermometer, barometer, and magnetometer. By combining the data obtained through the sensors with the ability to communicate wirelessly, the SensorTag can be used to develop apps in multiple fields, including fitness, recreation, health, safety, and more. Team SensorTag chose to focus on health and safety issues to complete its capstone project, creating applications intended for use by senior citizens who live alone or in assisted care homes. Using the SensorTag's ability to track multiple local variables, the team worked to collect data that verified the accuracy and quality of the sensors through repeated experimental trials. Once the sensors were tested, the team developed applications accessible via smart phones or computers to trigger an alarm and send an alert via vibration, e-mail, or Tweet if the SensorTag detects a fall. The fall detection service utilizes the accelerometer and gyroscope sensors with the hope that such a system will prevent severe injuries among the elderly, allow them to function more independently, and improve their quality of life, which is the obligation of engineers to better through their work.

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2015-12

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Digital Modeling of Analog Effect Circuits

Description

While SPICE circuit simulation software gives researchers and industry accurate information regarding the behavior and characteristics of circuits, the auditory effect of SPICE circuit simulation on audio circuits is not well documented. This project takes a thoroughly analyzed and popular

While SPICE circuit simulation software gives researchers and industry accurate information regarding the behavior and characteristics of circuits, the auditory effect of SPICE circuit simulation on audio circuits is not well documented. This project takes a thoroughly analyzed and popular audio effect circuit called the Ibanez Tubescreamer and simulates its distortion effect on a .wav file in order to hear the effect of SPICE simulation. Specifically, the TS-808 schematic is drawn in the SPICE program LTSPICE and simulated using generated sinusoids and recorded .wav files. Specific components are imported using .MODEL and .SUBCKT to accurately represent the diodes, bipolar transistors, op amps, and other components in order to hear how each component affects the response. Various transient responses are extracted as .wav files and assembled as figures in order to characterize the result of the circuit on the input. Once the actual circuit is built and debugged, all of the same transient analysis is applied and then compared to the SPICE simulation figures gathered in the digital simulation. These results are then compared along with a subjective hearing test of the digital simulation and analog circuit in order to test the validity of the SPICE simulations. The digital simulations reveal that the distortion follows the signature characteristics of Ibanez Tubescreamer which shows that SPICE simulation will give insight into the real effects of audio circuits modeled in SPICE programs. Diodes--such as Silicon, Germanium, Zener, Red LEDs and Blue LEDs--can dramatically change the waveforms and sound of the inputs within the circuit where as the Op-amps--such as the JRC4558, TL072, and NE5532--have little to no effect on the waveforms and subjective effects on the output .wav files. After building the circuit and hearing the difference between the analog circuit and digital simulation, the differences between the two are apparent but very similar in nature--proving that the SPICE simulation can give meaningful insight into the sound of the actual analog circuit. Some of the differences can be explained by the variance of equipment and environment used in recording and playback. Since this project did not use high fidelity audio recording equipment and consistency in the equipment used for playback, it is uncertain if the simulation and actual circuit could be classified as completely accurate. Any further work on the project would be recording and playing back in a constant environment and looking into a wider range of specific components instead of looking into one permutation.

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2015-12

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Needleless Electro-Spinner

Description

Electrospun nanofibers can be prepared from various kinds of inorganic substances by electro-spinning techniques. They have great potential in many applications including super capacitors, lithium ion batteries, filtration, catalyst and enzyme carriers, and sensors [1]. The traditional way to produce

Electrospun nanofibers can be prepared from various kinds of inorganic substances by electro-spinning techniques. They have great potential in many applications including super capacitors, lithium ion batteries, filtration, catalyst and enzyme carriers, and sensors [1]. The traditional way to produce electrospun nanofibers is needle based electro-spinning [1]. However, electrospun nanofibers have not been widely used in practice because of low nanofiber production rates. One way to largely increase the electro-spinning productivity is needleless electro-spinning. In 2005, Jirsak et al. patented a rotating roller fiber generator for the mass production of nanofibers [2]. Elmarco Corporation commercialized this technique to manufacture nanofiber equipment for the production of all sorts of organic and inorganic nanofibers, and named it "NanospiderTM". For this project, my goal is to build a needleless electro-spinner to produce nanofibers as the separator of lithium ion batteries. The model of this project is based on the design of rotating roller fiber generator, and is adapted from a project at North Dakota State University in 2011 [3].

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2012-12

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Study of charges present in silicon nitride thin films and their effect on silicon solar cell efficiencies

Description

As crystalline silicon solar cells continue to get thinner, the recombination of carriers at the surfaces of the cell plays an ever-important role in controlling the cell efficiency. One tool to minimize surface recombination is field effect passivation from the

As crystalline silicon solar cells continue to get thinner, the recombination of carriers at the surfaces of the cell plays an ever-important role in controlling the cell efficiency. One tool to minimize surface recombination is field effect passivation from the charges present in the thin films applied on the cell surfaces. The focus of this work is to understand the properties of charges present in the SiNx films and then to develop a mechanism to manipulate the polarity of charges to either negative or positive based on the end-application. Specific silicon-nitrogen dangling bonds (·Si-N), known as K center defects, are the primary charge trapping defects present in the SiNx films. A custom built corona charging tool was used to externally inject positive or negative charges in the SiNx film. Detailed Capacitance-Voltage (C-V) measurements taken on corona charged SiNx samples confirmed the presence of a net positive or negative charge density, as high as +/- 8 x 1012 cm-2, present in the SiNx film. High-energy (~ 4.9 eV) UV radiation was used to control and neutralize the charges in the SiNx films. Electron-Spin-Resonance (ESR) technique was used to detect and quantify the density of neutral K0 defects that are paramagnetically active. The density of the neutral K0 defects increased after UV treatment and decreased after high temperature annealing and charging treatments. Etch-back C-V measurements on SiNx films showed that the K centers are spread throughout the bulk of the SiNx film and not just near the SiNx-Si interface. It was also shown that the negative injected charges in the SiNx film were stable and present even after 1 year under indoor room-temperature conditions. Lastly, a stack of SiO2/SiNx dielectric layers applicable to standard commercial solar cells was developed using a low temperature (< 400 °C) PECVD process. Excellent surface passivation on FZ and CZ Si substrates for both n- and p-type samples was achieved by manipulating and controlling the charge in SiNx films.

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Date Created
2013

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Low power, high throughput continuous flow PCR instruments for environmental applications

Description

Continuous monitoring in the adequate temporal and spatial scale is necessary for a better understanding of environmental variations. But field deployments of molecular biological analysis platforms in that scale are currently hindered because of issues with power, throughput and automation.

Continuous monitoring in the adequate temporal and spatial scale is necessary for a better understanding of environmental variations. But field deployments of molecular biological analysis platforms in that scale are currently hindered because of issues with power, throughput and automation. Currently, such analysis is performed by the collection of large sample volumes from over a wide area and transporting them to laboratory testing facilities, which fail to provide any real-time information. This dissertation evaluates the systems currently utilized for in-situ field analyses and the issues hampering the successful deployment of such bioanalytial instruments for environmental applications. The design and development of high throughput, low power, and autonomous Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) instruments, amenable for portable field operations capable of providing quantitative results is presented here as part of this dissertation. A number of novel innovations have been reported here as part of this work in microfluidic design, PCR thermocycler design, optical design and systems integration. Emulsion microfluidics in conjunction with fluorinated oils and Teflon tubing have been used for the fluidic module that reduces cross-contamination eliminating the need for disposable components or constant cleaning. A cylindrical heater has been designed with the tubing wrapped around fixed temperature zones enabling continuous operation. Fluorescence excitation and detection have been achieved by using a light emitting diode (LED) as the excitation source and a photomultiplier tube (PMT) as the detector. Real-time quantitative PCR results were obtained by using multi-channel fluorescence excitation and detection using LED, optical fibers and a 64-channel multi-anode PMT for measuring continuous real-time fluorescence. The instrument was evaluated by comparing the results obtained with those obtained from a commercial instrument and found to be comparable. To further improve the design and enhance its field portability, this dissertation also presents a framework for the instrumentation necessary for a portable digital PCR platform to achieve higher throughputs with lower power. Both systems were designed such that it can easily couple with any upstream platform capable of providing nucleic acid for analysis using standard fluidic connections. Consequently, these instruments can be used not only in environmental applications, but portable diagnostics applications as well.

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2013