CLEMSON — A Clemson University electrical and computer engineering professor's lifelong work on the science of solar cells has led Photovoltaics World magazine to name him one of 10 global “Champions of Photovoltaic Technology” in a special issue on the subject.

Rajendra Singh, the D. Houser Banks Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and director of Clemson's Center of Silicon Nanoelectronics, decided to devote his doctoral thesis research to solar cells in 1973 during the Arab oil embargo.

“The vision I had in 1980 is happening only now, 30 years later,” he told the magazine. “The economic crisis of 2008, followed by recession or low economic growth in developed economies and high growth in emerging economies, has changed the landscape of energy business all over the world.”

Singh said that because of its “inherent advantages, photovoltaics will take over wind and eventually we will have PV as the dominant electricity-generation technology.”

The Photovoltaics World award honors the work of scientists following in the footsteps of French physicist Edmund Bequerel, who first noted the photoelectric effect in 1839, and Albert Einstein, who won the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect.

Singh's research led to advances in rapid thermal processing technology, or RTP, that now is widely used in solar cell manufacturing, the magazine noted.

In addition to thermal processing, Singh studies superconductivity, manufacturing of silicon integrated circuits, solar cells, thermoelectric devices and nanotechnology.

This fall he introduced a new upper-level course on solar energy, part of the Renewable Energy Certificate introduced by Clemson's electrical and computer engineering department.

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