Photovoltaics leader tours Australia and New Zealand as Frew Fellow

March 19, 2018
Professor Polman captivating the audience with his colourful solar demonstration at QUESTACON.

The Academy’s 2017 Frew Fellow, Professor Albert Polman, toured and lectured in Australia and New Zealand between November 2017 and February 2018 as part of the Academy's Geoffrey Frew Fellowship. The Fellowship brings distinguished overseas scientists to Australia to participate in Australian spectroscopy conferences and to visit scientific centres.

The Australian Optical Society has generously matched the Academy's funding support to this Fellowship since 2015.

Professor Polman is program leader of the Light Management in New Photovoltaic Materials program at the NWO Institute AMOLF in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and Professor of Photonic Materials for Photovoltaics at the University of Amsterdam. Professor Polman's research group focuses on nanophotovoltaics, the study of light management at the nanoscale to realise solar cells with ultrahigh efficiency that can be made at low cost.

Almost 500 people attended Professor Polman’s Frew Lectures about light management in new photovoltaic materials, and time-resolved cathodoluminescence spectroscopy of optical metasurfaces at Monash University and the Australia New Zealand Conference on Optics and Photonics; and light management in new photovoltaic materials at the Australian National University and UNSW.

Professor Polman also gave other lectures at UNSW, Sydney University of Technology, ANU, and the International Conference on Nanoscience and Nanotechnology and the Sydney Future energies conference. He also delivered a very successful solar demonstration to over 400 members of the general public at Monash University and QUESTACON, entitled ‘The Sun also rises for free’: the science of solar generation, demonstrating with lasers, rainbows, satellites, solar panels, atomic building blocks, the periodic table of the elements and a movie of the nanoworld.

As a result of the Frew visit, Professor Polman has reported several collaborative research projects on light management in solar cells, bringing together UNSW researchers and students in his laboratory in Amsterdam. He expects many fruitful outcomes from these projects in the form of publications, conference presentations, and demonstrator devices. Joint work with UNSW in 2017 has also been funded by a collaborative ACAP research grant in which Professor Polman was an international partner. Professor Polman is also partner in four grant applications made by UNSW staff in February 2018.

Professor Albert Polman giving his 2017 Frew Lecture at the 2017 Australia New Zealand Conference on Optics and Photonics (ANZCOP) in New Zealand.

© 2020 Australian Academy of Science

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