Mike Scarpulla

Thin Film PV and PV Characterization


University of Utah
Materials Science and Engineering
Photovoltaic Materials Lab
Room 2355 MEB
50 S Central Campus Dr
Salt Lake City UT 84112-9206
Phone: +1 801 585 1231
      Fax:+1 801 581 5281



Mike Scarpulla is an Associate Professor at the University of Utah in the departments of Materials Science and Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering.  Prior to joining the U in 2008, he received an Sc.B. with Honors from Brown University in 2000, worked at IBM Almaden from 2000-2001, pursued graduate studies at UC Berkeley from 2001-2006 earning MS and PhD degrees, and was a postdoc in MBE epitaxial integration of rare-earth pnictides with III-V semiconductors  at UC Santa Barbara from 2006-2008.

Mike’s work in and commitment to advancing the field of photovoltaics began with a project during graduate school using ion implantation and pulsed-laser melting (II-PLM) to synthesize epitaxial films of the world’s first multiband semiconductor: the alloy Zn1-xMnxTe1-yOy in which an intermediate band splits the fundamental band gap in two.  The continuation of this work by the LBNL group led to the demonstration of functioning photovoltaic devices based on III-V multiband semiconductors.

At Utah his research group focuses nearly exclusively on thin film photovoltaics.  With his first student he theoretically investigated the concept of embedded dielectric nanoparticles for light trapping in ultra-thin c-Si cells.  This effort also yielded an elucidation and investigation of the exact mode structure in planar waveguides with arbitrary loss in each layer and to the concept of equivalent deflection angle which clearly delineates antireflective from light trapping wavelength regimes of textured or sub-wavelength-structured approaches to light absorption enhancement.  Mike’s group has ongoing work in laser annealing of CdTe and CIGSe materials for modifications of properties for device and manufacturing enhancements.  They also pursue understanding of structural and electronic defects in CZT(S,Se) using especially electrical spectroscopies such as admittance spectroscopy and DLTS focusing on optical variants.

Mike reviews for many journals and agencies, participates regularly in the Hands-On PV Experience for graduate students held at NREL annually, serves on the organizing committees of areas 1&2 of the IEEE PVSC and of SPIE conferences on laser processing for photovoltaics and advanced PV cell concepts.  He has published >100 scholarly works with >1500 citations with an h-index of 20.