Author: El-chami, Ibrahim
In this thesis, a three-dimensional design of a vector light sensor for angular proximity detection applications is realized. 3D printed mesa pyramid designs, along with commercial photodiodes, were used as a prototype for the experimental verification of single-pixel and two-pixel systems. The operation principles, microfabrication details, and experimental verification of micro-sized mesa and CMOS-compatible inverse vector light pixels in silicon are presented, where p-n junctions are created on pyramid's facets as photodiodes. The one-pixel system allows for angular estimations, providing spatial proximity of incident light in 2D and 3D. A two-pixel system was further demonstrated to have a wider-angle detection. Multilayered carbon nanotubes, graphene, and vanadium oxide thin films as well as carbon nanoparticles-based composites were studied along with cost effective deposition processes to incorporate these films onto 3D mesa structures. Combining such design and materials optimizations produces sensors with a unique design, simple fabrication process, and readout integrated circuits' compatibility. Finally, an approach to utilize such sensors in smart energy system applications as solar trackers, for automated power generation optimizations, is explored. However, integration optimizations in complementary-Si PV solar modules were first required. In this multi-step approach, custom composite materials are utilized to significantly enhance the reliability in bifacial silicon PV solar modules. Thermal measurements and process optimizations in the development of imec's novel interconnection technology in solar applications are discussed. The interconnection technology is used to improve solar modules' performance and enhance the connectivity between modules' cells and components. This essential precursor allows for the effective powering and consistent operations of standalone module-associated components, such as the solar tracker and Internet of Things sensing devices, typically used in remote monitoring of modules' performance or smart energy systems. Such integrations and optimizations in the interconnection technology improve solar modules' performance and reliability, while further reducing materials and production costs. Such advantages further promote solar (Si) PV as a continuously evolving renewable energy source that is compatible with new waves of smart city technology and systems.
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Thesis advisor: Palmer, Patrick
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