We hope your summer is going well - we have lots of exciting news to share this quarter! If you have not already heard about the launch of our Campaign with a lead gift from Jeff and Judy Henley, there is a link below to the full story and the Campaign section of our website. Also in this issue, we are pleased to announce the architect for Henley Hall, share details from our latest Technology Roundtable, and highlight some recent research breakthroughs. We appreciate your continued support and partnership in our mission to create a more energy efficient future.
John Bowers Dave Auston
Director Executive Director
Jeff and Judy Henley's Campaign Gift
On May 12th, 2012, Oracle chairman Jeff Henley and his wife Judy announced their donation of $50 million to the Institute for Energy Efficiency and UC Santa Barbara's College of Engineering. Of the $50 million, $30 million will go toward Institute operations, faculty support, and to build Henley Hall, a new energy efficient building to house the Institute. The remaining $20 million is an estate commitment for the College of Engineering. Jeff and Judy's gift investment helps propel the campus overall toward the $1-billion goal of its Campaign for UC Santa Barbara, a multiyear fund-raising effort. Jeff Henley, a 1966 UCSB grad with distinction, is the campaign's co-chair. To read the press release, click here.
Architecture Firm Chosen for Henley Hall
Rice University's Brockman Hall for Physics is a laboratory building designed by KieranTimberlake that achieved LEED Gold certification. The Institute for Energy Efficiency is pleased to announce the selection of architectural firm KieranTimberlake to design a new home for the Institute. The building will be named Henley Hall in honor of Jeff and Judy Henley's lead gift for the building, and will be a symbol of the Institute and UC Santa Barbara's commitment to energy efficiency. KieranTimberlake (KT) is an award-winning and internationally recognized firm, known for their energy efficient and state-of-the-art laboratory designs, which will be critical for building Henley Hall. To read more information, click here.
Technology Roundtable on Concentrator Photovoltaics
On July 25-26th, 2012 the Institute for Energy Efficiency co-hosted a Technology Roundtable on Concentrator Photovoltaics with the Center for Energy Efficient Materials (CEEM). This invitation-only event brought together leading stakeholders from industry, government and academia to engage in a highly interactive discussion over one and a half days to inform and focus research in CPV. The Institute's Technology Roundtables are small-group, facilitated workshops that accelerate the development of a target energy efficiency or renewable energy technology. Sponsors for this Technology Roundtable included the U.S. Department of Energy's SunShot Initiative, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Read more about the roundtable here.
Institute Faculty Members Achieve World's First Violet Nonpolar Vertical-Cavity Laser Technology
Institute faculty members and Co-Directors of the Solid State Lighting and Energy Center at UCSB, Shuji Nakamura and Steven DenBaars, and their research team have developed the first violet nonpolar vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) based on m-plane gallium nitride semiconductors. This breakthrough opens doors to higher optical efficiency lasers. VCSELs save costs compared to edge-emitting lasers that require additional steps before they can be tested. The nonpolar VCSEL platform also provides high optical gain, which helps increase the optical efficiency of devices. VCSELs have numerous applications in lighting, displays, cell phones, and sensors. Read more about this research here.
Can Evolution Make Future Generations of Computer Chips?
Biomineralization - the process by which organisms form shells, bones, and teeth - has interested scientists for its complex and high-performance capabilities. Institute faculty member Dan Morse and his research team had previously discovered silicatein - a natural enzyme used in the biomineralization of sea sponges to make their silica skeletons. Silica happens to also be a major component in semiconductors. For this reason, Morse and his team mimicked the process of natural selection to evolve an engineered form of silicatein that catalyzes the synthesis of silica semiconductors. This radical new approach to creating silicon-containing semiconductors may increase the processing speed and energy efficiency of our computers. Read more about the research and it's practical applications here, and the published study can be accessed here.
Improving the Solar Cell Efficiency in Concentrator Photovoltaic Systems
Institute researchers are working with NREL to improve the solar cell efficiency of CPV systems. Their bonded two-terminal multijunction approach could potentially produce solar cells with efficiencies close to 50%. This is roughly 7% more efficient than current world record devices. The team uses an approach in which the middle contact grid of a mechanically stacked solar cell is replaced by an array of metal pillars. These pillars minimize shadowing losses without compromising other necessary requirements and cell efficiency.
In a recent test, the team's bonded three-junction device has a 29% efficiency at 1 sun, which is comparable to commercially available three junction devices. This means that the solar cell is "on the right track," and now the team is working on achieving four junction solar cells. To read the abstracts that were recently presented at the 38th Photovoltaics Specialists conference, click here and here.
Presentations from the National Academy of Engineering Symposium
Institute faculty members, John Bowers and Steven DenBaars, gave presentations at the National Academy of Engineering Symposium on Energy Efficiency and Sustainability this past March.
Bowers explains how communications can affect computing, in particular data centers and high performance computing. Watch John Bowers' video here.
DenBaars reviews the energy saving benefits of LEDs. He also projects LED use and the energy savings potential into the future. Watch Steve DenBaars' video here.