The objective of this GOALI program is to demonstrate optically functional surfaces by (i) employment of a deposition technique that allows for tailorable refractive indices and by (ii) lithographically structuring of refractive-index-controlled surfaces. The benefits resulting from such optically functional surfaces will be demonstrated in photo-voltaic solar cells and light-emitting diodes. The program is a collaborative effort with Magnolia Solar Company, a company committed to conduct joint research in optically-functional-surface technology and commercializing it for photo-voltaic applications.
In optical sciences, the refractive index of a medium is the most fundamental quantity and it is desirable to control both the (i) refractive index profile as well as (ii) the surface geometry (structure). The intellectual merit of the proposed project lies in the demonstration of a new class of optically functional surfaces, and in the employment of these surfaces in photo-voltaic solar cells and light-emitting diodes. Due to the fundamental nature of the refractive index, tailorable-refractive-index films are anticipated to be transformative with far-reaching impact.
The educational goals are (i) training and furthering of the intellectual growth of graduate students, (ii) raising the interest of undergraduate students particularly of domestic students and involvement of these students in leading-edge research, (iii) allowing students to work side-by-side with engineers from our partner company, and (iv) increasing participation of disadvantaged and underrepresented groups. The new research direction, including the application of new optical materials to devices, provides a great opportunity for students to be educated and trained in an exciting field.