Inexpensive and Efficient Materials for Solar Energy Conversion Devices

Web Published:

Princeton Docket # 12-2790


Solar energy conversion devices include photovoltaics, photoelectrochemical cells and photocatalysts, which convert the energy of sunlight into electricity and/or produce fuels from carbon dioxide and water.  Wide-scale implementation of these devices requires the development of less expensive materials with highly specific electronic properties to achieve useful efficiencies.  


Using first-principles quantum mechanics calculations, researchers at Princeton University have identified modified cuprous oxide materials for the next generation of solar energy conversion devices to produce electricity or fuel.  These materials incorporate dopants that improve minority carrier photoconductivity, enhancing the potential of cuprous oxide to be an efficient and low-cost material for solar technologies.



·        Low cost

·        Efficient



·        Semiconductors in photovoltaic cells

·        Electrodes in photoelectrochemical cells

·        Photocatalysts for fuel production


Faculty Inventor

Emily Ann Carter is Gerhard R. Andlinger Professor in Energy and the Environment and Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering & Applied and Computational Mathematics at Princeton University.   She is also the Founding Director of the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment at Princeton University.  Professor Carter's primary research lies along the interface of chemistry, materials science, applied physics, and applied mathematics.  Much of her work focuses on predicting the behavior of materials, analyzing properties of materials on the atomic level and then using that information to inform models at higher length scales for a comprehensive view of materials behavior. She has received many honors for her work, including election to the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science (2009), the National Academy of Sciences (2008), and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2008).


Intellectual Property Status

Patent protection is pending.


Princeton is seeking to identify appropriate partners for the further development and commercialization of this technology.




Michael Tyerech

Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing



Laurie Bagley

Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing





Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Michael Tyerech
former Princeton Sr. Licensing Associate
Princeton University
Emily Carter
Leah Isseroff
green tech
Opto-Electronics/ELE ENG
solar cell