Thin Film Coatings for Solar Energy

This research group at the Department of Physics, University of Zambia has received ISP support since 1988. The activities are coordinated by Dr Sylvester Hatwaambo. The group is also a member of the IPPS supported MSSEESA network.


Exploring alternative ways of using sustainable energy sources such as solar energy as compared to the current fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas which cause large environmental problems is the prime objective this activity. Solar energy is free and abundant although not very uniformly distributed over the globe. Various conversion processes have been utilized to convert solar energy into usable form of energy such as electricity. The photovoltaic process converts sunlight energy directly into electricity. This process has been widely research but the area of low concentrating photovoltaic systems and the problem of uneven illumination has not been solved. Hence, one research component of our group will concentrate on improving the conversion efficiency of photo-thermal system using novel methods producing hot water and electricity. The other component of our project design will be based on exploring best materials for transparent conducting oxides besides the conventional tin doped indium oxide. Last but not the least, the group will continue to collaborate with the Chemistry Department to continue investigating the emerging polymer based solar cells using P3HT:PCBM blends and dye additives. However, the major drawbacks to solar energy usage are the low energy conversion efficiencies and ingenious ways of improving these conversion efficiencies of solar energy devices is the central aim of this research project.


Dr Sylvester Hatwaambo, University of Zambia

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