Dr Ruy Sebastian Bonilla

Ruy Sebastian Bonilla

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Job title: Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Division: Department of Materials
Organisation: University of Oxford
Tags: Fellowship: Postdoctoral Fellowship, Researcher, University of Oxford
Related theme: Energy Engineering Physical Sciences


I completed my BSc in Electronic Engineering in 2008 at Universidad de los Andes, Colombia, my MPhil in Nanotechnology in 2010 at the University of Cambridge, and my DPhil in Materials in 2015 at the University of Oxford studying new passivation technologies for silicon solar cells.

My Fellowship

Solar power is one of the most environmentally favourable sources, which in principle could provide all the energy required for the planet. Solar cells use the photovoltaic effect to convert solar energy to usable electrical energy, and thus are a key technology to provide the world with renewable, inexpensive and reliable electricity. With over 85 % of the market, 140 GW of installed capacity, payback times of only 2-4 years, and a cost of generation falling below 0.5 $/W, silicon solar cells are an extremely promising technology where significant technological improvements are still possible which will ensure further price reductions and increased deployment.

My project aims to improve the efficiency of silicon solar cells by reducing losses due to material surfaces and interfaces. This will hasten the future development of rear contact cell geometries –the more efficient technology that will help power the world. The research proposed here will expand the current understanding of the mechanisms of charge loss for semiconductor surfaces. My work will allow better and cheaper cells to be produced, and will provide the knowledge to better engineer manufacturing of a variety of optoelectronic devices.

Benefits of this research not only include the scientific advancement of semiconductor and dielectric physics, but also the potential improvement in operation and reduction in manufacturing cost of these devices. Wider solar power uptake allows a direct reduction of CO2 emissions and long-term energy security. A reduction in the rate of global warming will have huge beneficial impacts for mankind across the world

Career benefits of Fellowship

I intend to use this fellowship to expand my work on photovoltaics and explore new ideas to produce effective, inexpensive and reliable passivation for semiconductor surfaces. With the experience I acquired during my doctorate I now feel confident as an independent researcher. During my fellowship I wish to develop this independence further and produce and execute my own research ideas.

This fellowship will serve as an enabling step in my career leading to the ability to formulate and run multi-partner advanced research projects. I aspire to become and academic and this fellowship will serve as a cornerstone for my career.