Christopher Wronski

Amorphous, Nanostructured, and Film Si PV

Pennsylvania State University
121 EE East
University Park PA 16802 USA
Phone: +1 814 865 0930  Fax:     +1 814 863 5341 E-mail:



Christopher Wronski received a B.Sc in Physics in 1960 and Ph.D in 1963 from Imperial College, London University. He is currentlyLeonhard Professor Emeritus in the Department of Electrical Engineering, Pennsylvania State University from 1987 to 2005. His contributions to photovoltaics began in 1974 at RCA David Sarnoff Research Laboratories, with work carried out with David Carlson that led to the invention and development of thin film amorphous silicon solar cells. ¬†In 1976, he discovered with David Staebler, the reversible, light-induced changes in the optoelectronic properties in amorphous silicon known as the Staebler-Wronksi Effect.¬† This effect, which results from the introduction of metastable defects, is still not only of great technological but also scientific interest. While at RCA and subsequently at Exxon Research Laboratories he continued to make contributions to the development of efficient solar cells, understanding of their device physics and the nature of the defects in hydrogenated amorphous silicon.¬† This included his collaboration in demonstrating and quantifying the large improvements possible in short cicuit currents from the optical enhancement obtained with texturized surfaces. At Penn State he developed several novel techniques for characterization of the optoelectronic properties hydrogenated amorphous silicon solar cells and clearly established the contributions of multiple defects to the Staebler-Wronski effect. The collaborative research with Professor Rob Collins, where for the first time the characterization of growth and microstructure is carried out in real-time, has enabled materials and solar cells to be significantly improved.¬† This understanding and control of the more ordered structure in ‚Äúprotocrystalline‚ÄĚ amorphous materials has been applied in a more systematic development of improved solar cells. Professor Wronski has over 300 publications on amorphous materials and their devices.

In 1984 Professor Wronksi received the IEEE Morris N. Liebmann Memorial Award for ‚Äúcrucial contributions to the use of amorphous silicon in low cost, high performance photovoltaic solar cells.‚ÄĚ In 2000 he received the IEEE W Cherry Award for ‚ÄúOutstanding contributions to photovoltaic science and technology‚ÄĚ.¬† Since his retirement he has continued to visit and present lectures at industrial, government, and university laboratories as well as participate in their research activities.