Centre for Advanced Photovoltaic Devices and Systems (CAPDS)

A photo of Dr Siva Sivoththaman holding a vial of quantum dots for solar engineering

Research at CAPDS

  • Silicon crystals from low-cost feedstock: growth of silicon ingots from feedstock with different levels of purity. Fabrication of photovoltaic (PV)-specific silicon wafers to function as a low-cost base material for PV devices.
  • Spheral silicon: research on the growth of sphere-shaped ("spheral") silicon crystals for new generations of flexible spherical solar modules.
  • Thin-films and novel materials: research on thin film semiconductor materials for photovoltaics: amorphous-, microcrystalline-, and nanocrystalline- silicon; organic semiconductors; nano-materials.
  • Characterization and quality improvement of materials for photovoltaics: electronic and structural characterization of materials. Defect passivation and impurity gettering techniques.
  • Design of advanced PV devices: design of advanced device structures for spherical, thin-film, and planar PV devices, nano-wire and quantum dot technologies for high efficiency PV cells. Development of numerical simulation tools incorporating materials and device physics.
  • Device fabrication technologies: material-specific, low- and high- temperature fabrication technologies for PV devices. Development of industry-upscalable process sequences.
  • PV device characterization and performance evaluation: electrical and optical measurements of PV devices, stability and reliability evaluation; feedback to; material and device fabrication.
  • Design and fabrication of PV modules: prototyping of application-specific flexible and planar PV modules. Development of encapsulation materials; stability and reliability testing.
  • Back-end power conditioning: stand-alone inverter, grid-connected inverter, multi-functional grid interface, interconnection of PV systems in a microgrid, modular design, maximum power point tracking, interconnection of PV systems with other alternative energy sources.
  • PV-thermal hybrids: design, development, and prototyping of PV devices and small modules for integrated PV-thermal hybrid systems. Building-Integrated Photovoltaic systems with Thermal recovery (BIPV/T), transpired air heaters with photovoltaics.
  • PV and electricity markets: electricity supply profiles; electricity market prices; consumer loads, behaviour and strategies in electricity markets; sustainability assessment of policy alternatives.

Facilities at CAPDS

  • Material synthesis area: semiconductor feedstock preparation, crystal ingot growth, wafer sawing and spherical silicon (Si) growth.
  • Device prototyping area: cleanroom fabrication facility for advanced photovoltaic (PV) devices – high and low temperature processes for crystalline Si, thin-film, and nano photovoltaic devices.
  • Pilot cell production area: scaled-up fabrication of newly developed technologies, solar module fabrication.
  • Chemical processing area: wet chemical processing of semiconductors, selective electro deposition, wafer polishing.
  • Device characterization area: electrical, optical, and spectroscopic characterization of photovoltaic materials and devices.
  • Module testing and roof-top test rack: stability and reliability tests, solar tracking, sky spectrometry.
  • Computing facilities: design, data collection and transfer, simulation software.

Contact CAPDS

Location: Energy Research Centre (ERC)

​Email: sivoththaman@uwaterloo.ca

CAPDS Website