Site Director -
Dr. Walajabad S. Sampath, Ph.D.


Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Site director – NSF I/UCRC for Center Next Generation Photovoltaics

Education: B. Tech. 1980, Indian Institute of Technology – Mechanical Engineering

M.E. 1982, Arizona State University – Mechanical Engineering

Ph.D. 1985, Arizona State University – Mechanical Engineering

Research Interest: Making PV electricity a major source of energy worldwide by optimizing CdTe based material processing that can be developed to be scalable and commercialized at affordable cost.

Associate Director --
Dr. Kurt Barth, Ph.D.

Kurt Barth

Associate Director Colorado State University – Next Generation PV Center

Education: M.S., Department of Mechanical Engineering, Colorado State University

Ph.D., Department of Mechanical Engineering, Colorado State University

Research Interest: Kurt L. Barth has extensive experience in CdTe PV materials science, strategic planning, program management, product development, entrepreneurship and thin film photovoltaic R&D. Mr. Barth brings significant strategic leadership experience. As founder and Board member of Abound Solar, a CdTe solar photovoltaics manufacturer, he developed the initial business plan, obtained major equity financing (eventually totaling over $300M) and provided leadership for company growth. As VP of Product Development, Mr. Barth, drove the product from conceptualization through deployment and achieved IEC and UL certifications in one of the shortest times in the industry. While at Colorado State University, he was an inventor of foundational semiconductor fabrication process technology and hardware and made significant scientific contributions to the thin film solar research field. Mr. Barth has served as Project Director or Co-Project director on 9 federally sponsored programs with a total funding of over $18 million

Past Experience: President and Founder Direct Solar LLC 2012-present Associate Director, Colorado State University Site of the Affiliate Faculty, Dept. of Mechanical Eng. Colorado State University 2007-2012, Founder and Sr. Technologist, Abound Solar Inc. 2009-2012 Director / Observer, Abound Solar Board of Directors 2007-2012, Founding Member and Manager, OnlySunshine LLC 2009 to 2013, VP Product Development and Founder, Abound Solar Inc. 2007-2009 Founding Partner and Manager, AVA Technologies LLC 1997 to 2007, Faculty/Staff Research Associate III, Colorado State University 1993-2007, NSF Industry / University Corporative Research Center 2012-present.

Research Scientist -
Dr. Jason Kephart, Ph.D.

Research Scientist II

Education: B.S., Mechanical Engineering and Business Economics & Management, California

Institute of Technology

M.S., Mechanical Engineering, Colorado State University

Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Colorado State University

Ph.D. Dissertation Topic: Optimization of the front contact to minimize short-circuit current losses in CdTe thin film solar cells.

Current Research: Dr. Kephart’s research includes all aspects of developing new hardware, processes, and materials to improve the repeatability of fabrication, simplicity, and conversion efficiency of CdTe devices. The focus is materials for the front contact, which are particularly important since they must provide high optical transmission, proper band alignment, a passive absorber interface, and a suitable growth template for optimum efficiency. Past work has focused on alloys of tin oxide, zinc oxide, and cadmium sulfide. His work has led to the elimination of CdS-based window layers and near elimination of optical losses in the lab’s record devices.

Research Associate/Lab MGr -
Kevan C. Cameron

Kevan Camaron

Education: US Navy Tech School including:

Radioman “A” School, Enlisted Basic Submarine School, Teletype Maintenance & Repair School, Satalline Communication (SATCOM) School, Submarine Damage Control School, Firefighting School, Aims Community College General Aviation Pilot Ground School

Red Rocks Community College – B.S. in Business Administration with Double Major in Management, University of Phoenix.

Research Interest: 30 years’ experience in vacuum technology and process including: Flight hardware Space Simulation Testing, Thin Film Lithium Battery R&D as well as RF, AC and DC power supply testing. Current interest mostly towards development in the field of alternate energy.

Visiting Faculty -
Dr. Milind Shrinivas Dangate

Dr. Milind Shrinivas Dangate

Education: Ph. D. from University of Milan, Italy (2009)

Ph.D. Research: Sulfoquinovosylacylglycerol as New Molecule for Tumor Treatment

Specialization: Organic Synthesis – (Drugs discovery, Heterocyclic, monomers, Polymers, Asymmetric, Catalysis).

Milind currently serves as Assistant Professor at Department of Chemistry, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amrita School of Arts and Sciences, Amritapuri, India. He completed his Ph. D. from University of Milan, Italy (2009) where he synthesized Sulfoquinovosylacylglycerol as New Molecule for Tumor Treatment and Post Doctorals from University of Milano-Bicocca and University of Milan. Prior to Amrita, Milind worked as Senior Post Doc. at the Institute of Molecular Sciences and Technologies of the National Research Council, Milan, Italy. He got initial training with Insecticides and residue testing wing, CSIR’s National Chemical Laboratory, Pune and industrial exposure with Hikal and LeedsKem in R&D Division.

His teaching focus is the fields surrounding organic chemistry including general chemistry and Electrochemical Energy Systems and Processes.

He awarded Bhaskara Advanced Solar Energy (BASE) Fellowship Award 2015 from Indo-US Science and Technology forum during the tenure as visiting Faculty at Department of Mechanical Engineering at Colorado State University he is studying the conductive monomers , polymers binders for CdS/CdTe devices to have a detailed understanding of device stability, efficiency and process yield.

Current Graduate Students

Drew Edward Swanson

Drew Edward Swanson

4th year Ph.D. Student

Education: B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Colorado State University

M.S., Mechanical Engineering, Colorado State University

M.S. Thesis: (Advisor: Dr. John D. Williams, CEPPE Lab) Development of a plasma cleaning and plasma enhanced close space sublimation hardware for improving CdS/CdTe Solar Cells.

Ph.D. Dissertation topic: The development of high efficiency CdTe solar cells, specifically the development of an electron reflector.

Amit Munshi

Amit Munshi

4th year Ph.D. Student

Education: Associate Degree, Automobile Engineering –Gujarat Technical Education Board, India

B.S. Automobile Engineering – Sardar Patel University, India

M.S. Mechanical Engineering – Colorado State University

MS thesis topic: Investigation of Gold as Material for Thermal Radiation Shielding

Current research subject: Development of better understanding of CdTe and CdMgTe thin film microstructure for photovoltaic applications. Currently the effects of process conditions on CdTe and CdMgTe thin films microstructure is not very well understood. My goal is to investigate and document effect of process conditions on film microstructure as well as define is effect of CdTe thin film photovoltaic device performance. For this purpose various tools including but not limited to SEM, TEM, EDS, XPS, XRD, FIB, EBSD, etc. are actively and proficiently used.

PhD Dissertation topic: Investigating microstructure of CdMgTe as an electron reflector in CdTe thin film photovoltaic devices.

Tushar Shimpi

Tushar Shimpi

4th year Ph.D. Student

Education: B.E. Mechanical Engineering, University of Mumbai

MS Mechanical Engineering, Colorado State University

MS thesis topic: Effect of Hail Impact on Thermally Tempered Glass Substrates Used for Processing CdTe PV Modules

Current research subject: Current working on Sputter Deposition of Cadmium Zinc Telluride Films. Cadmium Zinc Telluride (CZT) is a high band gap material. It has a potential for a top cell in a multi junction solar cell and also holds a promise to form an electron reflector when deposited on the back of CdTe devices. My focus is to carry out deposition of CZT films by RF sputtering on various devices structures. The structures are then characterized by using different tools and the performance is tested under standard conditions.

Aanand Thiyagarajan

Aanand Thiyagarajan

2nd year Ph.D. Student

Education: B.E., Mechanical Engineering, M.S.Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Bangalore, India.

M.S., Alternative Energy (non thesis), University of Rochester, New York.

Current research subject: Thin film Cadmium Telluride PV processing.

Adam Danielson

Adam Danielson

1st year Ph.D. Student

Education: B.S. Mechanical Engineering, United States Air Force Academy

M.E. Engineering Management, University of Colorado, Boulder

Current research subject: Increasing Thin Film CdTe photovoltaic device efficiencies.

Anthony P. Nicholson

Anthony P. Nicholson

1st year Ph.D. Student

Education: M.S. Mechanical Engineering, Colorado State University

B.S. Mechanical Engineering, Colorado State University

MS thesis topic: Analysis of CuCl Thin-Film Deposition and Growth by Close-Space Sublimation

PhD Dissertation (topic/interest): Nitrogen doping of CdTe and possible DFT/ab initio simulation of the layer or its associated interfaces.

Research Interests/Future Goals: Keen interest in both experimentation and simulation of various thin-film layers and devices; Future goals include a career within the solar energy field, either related to research and development or design.

Carey Reich

Carey Reich

Concurrently pursuing MS in Mechanical Engineering

Education: Senior, BS Mechanical Engineering

Current Research: I have worked in the lab as an undergraduate, both in a support and research capacity. My supporting role was generally finishing cells, running various tools, and maintaining the vacuum chambers. My research was investigating the effect of a mixed Cadmium Chloride and Magnesium Chloride passivation of CdMgTe absorbers for application in Tandem PV. My current research which will be started as my senior project and finished for my MS is to improve the passivation process and device characteristics of cells using CdMgTe absorbers for application in the top cell of a tandem device. I am also assisting with the design and implementation of an advanced Co-Sublimation source to deposit ternary alloys of CdTe

Sai Avinash Pochareddy

Sai Avinash Pochareddy

2nd year M.S. Student

Education: B.Tech. 2014, SRM University– Mechatronics Engineering

Current research subject: Applying Density Functional Theory to Cadmium Telluride Solar Cells.

Recent graduates

Dr. Pavel (Paul) S. Kobyakov

Dr. Pavel (Paul) S. Kobyakov

Education: B.S. Mechanical Engineering Syracuse University

M.S. Mechanical Engineering Colorado State University

PhD. Mechanical Engineering Colorado State University

MS Thesis: Microstructural characterization of CdTe/CdS solar cells.

PhD dissertation topic: Development of Cd1-xMgxTe thin films for application as an electron reflector in CdS/CdTe solar cells.

Research summary: Developed a novel co-sublimation process to deposit the ternary alloy Cd1-xMgxTe (CMT) thin films. The higher band gap CMT films were then used as an electron reflector at the rear of the CdS/CdTe device to reduce back-surface recombination and thus improve performance of the device.

Current status: Development Engineer at Avago Technologies in Fort Collins, CO

Keegan Corey Barricklow

Keegan Corey Barricklow

Education: B.S. Mechanical Engineering, Colorado State University

M.S. Mechanical Engineering, Colorado State University

MS Thesis: Advanced Research Deposition System (ARDS) for processing CdTe Solar Cells.

Research Summary: While studying at CSU my interests were in manufacturing and renewable energies. Primarily for developing manufacturing techniques and systems for next generation thin film Photovoltaic structures and applying advanced characterization methods to develop process to performance correlations. While completing my MSME,

Current Status: I worked as an R&D Engineer with Abound Solar to develop the process and equipment necessary for high throughput volume manufacturing. I am currently an Instructor for Introduction to Manufacturing in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Colorado State University.

Davis Hemenway

Davis Hemenway

Education:  B.S. + M.S. Mechanical Engineering – Colorado State University

MS Thesis:  “Computational modeling of cadmium sulfide deposition in the CdS/CdTe solar cell manufacturing process”

Research summary:  In 2011, Davis R. Hemenway began work on monumental task of revolutionizing the photovoltaic manufacturing paradigm through the use of well-defined Computational Fluid Dynamics research tools. The vision was to understand and optimize solar cell manufacturing for efficiency and reproducible quality. In the past years, Mr. Hemenway has investigated and eliminated obstacles to the mass production of thin-film Photovoltaics. His accomplishments include:

(i)  A comprehensive sublimation, fluid transport, and film growth model of Cadmium Sulphide on TCO coated glass substrates in the Close-Space Sublimation process

(ii) Using predictive film growth models to increase film uniformity

(iii) A method for modeling the thermal response of finished PV modules in varying wind and solar conditions.”

Current status:  Staff Engineer – Direct Solar

Kevin Walters

Kevin Walters

M.S. Mechanical Engineering, Colorado State University

M.S. Research: Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Modeling for CdTe Solar Cell Manufacturing Analysis of the thermal uniformity of CdTe solar cell manufacturing equipment.

Current Status: I have been working for thin film coating and aerospace industries.

Venkat Anirudh Karteek Gummadala

Venkat Anirudh Karteek Gummadala

Education: B.E. Mechanical Engineering from Osmania University, Telangana, India.

Current Research: My research is based on the calculation of Emissivity of Graphite (G330 purified to <5ppm) when it is coated with the vapors of Cadmium Sulphide (CdS) and Cadmium Telluride (CdTe ) in the wavelength range of 2-10 microns and in the thickness range of 1-10 microns. Trying to check for the thermal changes (Emissivity vs. Thickness) that takes place when coatings (both thin and thick) are deposited on the Graphite using the Advanced Research Deposition System (ARDS) in the Photovoltaic Manufacturing Laboratory.

M.S. Thesis Topic: Study of the behavior of emissivity of graphite substrates inside the production machine when it is coated with the CdS and CdTe film vapors.

Tejas Khetani

Tejas Khetani

MS Mechanical Engineer (Materials)

Thesis: Analysis of advanced vapor source for Cadmium Telluride solar cell manufacturing.

Current Status: Mechanical Design and Test Engineer (GE Healthcare)