Developing materials for solar cells

This consortium of researchers based in Ghana, Cameroon, South Africa and the UK is using materials chemistry to develop materials for use in solar cells.

Lay summary

Materials chemistry affects our everyday lives from the processing of semiconductor materials, through energy storage, to applications including environmental protection and remediation. Many materials have the potential for more than one application. 

During this project, the materials developed will be principally metals with the elements oxygen, sulphur, selenium and tellurium. Many of these materials have electronic semiconducting properties similar to silicon and can be used in applications such as the photovoltaic generation of electricity and water purification.

Researchers from this consortium contributed towards a case study for World Energy Day 2019.

Proposed benefits to researchers and institutions

  • Cameroon and Ghana will have a foundation for Materials Research to develop further
  • A stronger and more diversified Materials Research programme in South Africa
  • Creation of a strong network of researchers who have had international exposure
  • PhD students with the skills necessary to launch their own academic careers and who will be able to pass on the skills and knowledge obtained to their own students
  • Continued interaction between the African countries
  • An increased number of students joining the postgraduate research programs at the African institutions

Proposed benefits of research to society

  • Increased awareness and research capacity within the field of materials chemistry and nanotechnology both locally, across Cameroon, Ghana and South Africa, and internationally
  • The knowledge generated from this project will contribute to the scientific area of nanomaterials synthesis, processing and applications