Dr Xiaojing (Jeana) Hao

World Record Kesterite Cells

Associate Professor & UNSW Scientia Fellow, School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering, UNSW; PhD (Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering), UNSW Sydney

Associate Professor Xiaojing Hao is at the international forefront of the field of kesterite photovoltaics.

Kesterite is a compound of the cheap and earth-abundant elements copper, zinc, tin and sulphur.

It forms a tetrahedrally coordinated semiconductor that is similar to silicon but offers additional flexibility in material properties useful in forming cells as thin films, or for forming tandem cell stacks, in which each stacked cell responds to a different spectral range of sunlight.

These solar cells provide renewable energy solutions without posing environmental concerns.

Between 2016 and 2018, Hao and her team set four new world records for kesterite solar cell efficiency.

Between 2016 and 2018, Hao and her team set four new world records for kesterite solar cell efficiency.

The first was in April 2016, when she set a new record of 7.6 per cent for a large-area kesterite cell. This was subsequently increased to 10 per cent in March 2017.

Hao also set a new record of 9.5 per cent for a small-area kesterite cell.

Most recently, in March 2017, Hao’s team further increased that efficiency to 11 per cent – the first time the 10 per cent efficiency threshold was broken for this type of cell.

These breakthroughs represent a major advance in the development of solar cells that are flexible, low-cost and non-toxic.

Hao has secured $17 million in external competitive funding, and she was awarded the ARENA research fellowship in 2011 and an ARC DECRA in 2016.

Her achievements are recognised by several prizes and honours. She received the 2018 UNSW Engineering Faculty Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research. Also in 2018, she received the highly prestigious NSW Premier’s Prize for Science and Engineering (Energy Innovation in NSW).

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