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The Network for Photovoltaic Technology

The Network for Photovoltaic Technology

NPT: The Network for Photovoltaic Technology

What is NPT?

The NPT aims to provide a unique venue for collaborative research on photovoltaic technology. Developing broadly applicable, “technology agnostic” solutions by addressing technology-specific problems is the goal. Understanding gained in research will be embedded in end-to-end modeling capabilities that includes process, device, characterization, reliability, and systems. The NPT aims to become an international center of gravity for PV research that connects islands of excellence, engages a variety of disciplines in industry and universities, and promotes discussion, collaboration, dissemination, and technology transfer. NPT will also provide a global forum for industry-university dialog and an exceptional, industry-relevant experience for students.

The opportunity

Photovoltaic (solar cell) technology has great potential for contributing to the world’s need for new sources of environmentally clean and sustainable energy.


Solar cell R&D and manufacturing is fragmented according to technology (e.g. crystalline, thin-film, 1-sun, concentrator, etc.) and discipline (e.g. chemistry, materials science, electrical engineering, etc.). Common problems are not recognized and the critical mass needed for effective solutions is hard to achieve. University-industry-federal lab communication needs to be stronger.

The NPT Approach

  • A unique center-scale network of universities and companies that connects islands of excellence to address PV technology broadly.
  • An international forum for industry-university-government dialog that helps to define common industrial needs and engaging university researchers.
  • Exceptional experience for students
  • A web-based presence that ties it all together.
  • Industry-funded university research program managed by the Energy Research Initiative, part of the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) — the world’s leading technology research consortium.
  • Leverage research that complements the industrially-funded core.


NPT Research Agenda

NPT Research

A “technology agnostic” philosophy – general solutions developed by solving specific problems.

End-to-end solutions – from process and materials, to devices, reliability, and systems

Research Topics

  1. Materials and Processes -ab initio studies of PV materials -process simulation to predict device structure
  2. Device Simulation and Modeling -broadly applicable to PV technologies -exploration / assessment of novel concepts
  3. Characterization for Predictive Modeling -physics-based methodologies that link metrology and simulation
  4. Physics-based Reliability -models for reliability leading to procedures for science-based, accelerated life-time testing
  5. PV Systems -compact models to relate materials and devices to system performance
  6. Software Platform -embedding understanding into research-grade software tools that are readily-used by problem-solvers
  7. nanoHUB/HUBzero to support dissemination, collaboration, and education


The PVhub is part of the nanoHUB network. Making use of nanoHUB/HUBzero cyberinfrastructure, it supports the work of the NPT through a science gateway that provide services for dissemination, education, collaboration and technology transfer. The signature service is the ability to deliver simulation services through a standard web browser with no need to download, install, or support software.

The SRC Energy Research Initiative

Through the Semiconductor Research Corporation’s Energy Research Initiartive, a global consortium of companies funds NPT research on a broad range of industry-relevant research on PV technology. See http://www.src.org/program/eri/

The Network for Computational Nanotechnology

The U.S. National Science Foundation’s Network for Computational Nanotechnology seed funds the research that lead to the creation of the NPT, and it’s science gateway, nanoHUB.org has become a major venue for dissemination of resources for research, education, and collaboration. See http://www.ncn.purdue.edu/