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Postdoctoral Researcher for Device Development in Silicon Photovoltaics
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Job Description

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, is the nation’s primary laboratory for research, development and deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. NREL’s High Efficiency Crystalline PV Group in the National Center for Photovoltaics has an immediate opening for a full time (40 hours per week) Postdoctoral Researcher. The initial appointment position is for 1 year, subject to renewal up to 3 years.

Duties and Responsibilities: The High Efficiency Crystalline PV Group develops new materials, processes, and devices to advance high and ultra-high efficiency silicon and III-V photovoltaics (PV). Projects integrate basic research, materials development and processing, device fabrication and characterization. This project is focused on high efficiency, industrially relevant, Si PV devices enabled by new materials, devices architectures, and robust process flow. The Postdoctoral Researcher will perform device and materials science focused research to develop doping and metallization techniques, novel materials, and device designs that enable high efficiency, next generation Si PV, while being responsible for maintaining stable baseline device process flow. Specifically, the research will encompass: high-efficiency Si cells with p-PERC, n-PERT and their variants with passivated contacts; cells fully based on passivated contacts including interdigitated rear carrier-selective contacts; and materials for advanced interfaces and contacts. Particular emphasis will be on establishing and maintaining stable baseline process flow, against which the novel process steps, materials, and device architectures can be evaluated. Demonstration of the final high efficiency device will be of key importance. The materials and processes developed will be of industrial relevance and the work may involve working with an industrial partner. The Postdoctoral Researcher will be responsible for both design and experimental implementation of device, process, and materials development. New findings will be published in peer-reviewed journals. Specific duties include: (1) Collaboration with scientists in the planning, analysis, realization and interpretation of experiments; (2) development and application of cutting-edge experimental and modeling techniques; (3) contributing to development of winning proposals to expand the Crystalline PV program at NREL; (4) working with graduate students at NREL; (5) presentation of work at scientific conferences and review meetings; and (6) adherence to NREL’s high safety standards.

Additional Required knowledge, skills and abilities:

Candidates must have a doctoral degree in Physics, Materials Science, Applied Physics, Chemistry, Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, or similar fields, and demonstrated hands-on expertise producing high efficiency, industrially relevant Si photovoltaic devices in the lab. Additionally, demonstrated expertise in one or more of the following: thermal and chemical processing of Si wafers to produce high efficiency device; passivation of Si wafer surfaces and contacts; low-recombination metallization of Si devices; fundamental silicon materials science; creating and maintaining a stable baseline Si device process flow involving a device team; materials processing and device fabrication including cleanroom processing.

Candidates must have strong scientific research skills (creating hypotheses, experimental design and implementation, simulations and modeling, use of sophisticated experimental equipment), as well as writing skills demonstrated by experience in writing quality scientific papers. Communications skills are especially valued, given the interdisciplinary nature of this work, along with the ability to work both independently and collaboratively as part of a research team. Candidates should show potential for conceiving new research directions and interest in contributing to research proposals.


Required Education, Experience, and Skills

Must be a recent PhD graduate within the last three years.


Preferred Qualifications

Preferred qualifications include: A thesis or publication list involving device and materials science of Si solar cells; Experience with PV cell fabrication processes relevant to crystalline-silicon photovoltaics, such as passivation, contacting, light management, epitaxial growth, synthesis of new materials, clean thermal processing, deposition, ion implantation, various doping techniques, screen and inkjet printing, plasma and laser etching/ablation, and lithographic techniques. Expertise in silicon and other semiconductor materials (e.g. TCOs) including optical properties, defects and charge transport, Electron Spin Resonance, PECVD deposition of Si films, solar cell physics, PV device structures; and design and simulation tools. Experience in developing new laboratory capabilities is a plus.


Submission Guidelines

Please note that in order to be considered an applicant for any position at NREL you must submit an application form for each position for which you believe you are qualified. Applications are not kept on file for future positions. Please include a cover letter and resume with each position application.


EEO Policy

NREL is dedicated to the principles of equal employment opportunity. NREL promotes a work environment that does not discriminate against workers or job applicants and prohibits unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, marital status, ancestry, actual or perceived sexual orientation, or veteran status, including special disabled veterans.

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About National Renewable Energy Laboratory

At NREL, we focus on creative answers to today's energy challenges. From breakthroughs in fundamental science to new clean technologies to integrated energy systems that power our lives, NREL researchers are transforming the way the nation and the world use energy.