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Graduate Schools for Photovoltaic Research

  1. Jul 26, 2013 #1
    Hello! First post on Physics Forums. I am a rising junior majoring in physics at a small liberal arts college. I'm very interested in renewable energy, and this summer I've been introduced to a bit of research in this area. I'm working with a semiconductor material and characterizing thermal conductivity, so I've learned a few things about materials science, semiconductors, etc. I've done a little reading about quantum dots and their role in solar development, and that interests me as well. The graduate school that I'm currently most interested in is Colorado School of Mine's Renewable Energy Physics program, because it seems to have many cool projects, and I like their proximity to NREL.

    My question is: what are/how can I find other graduate schools that are strong in this area? I'm finding it difficult to pin down which department such projects are listed in. I find a couple things in condensed matter physics, a couple more in the electrical engineering departments, and then a few more things on a materials science website. Yet, simply searching "condensed matter physics" tends to give me a broad range of condensed matter topics, and the electrical engineering topics are sometimes more focused on electronic integration, which is not exactly what I'm looking to do.

    Furthermore, when I'm looking for such a specific type of project, how can I know how "prestigious" the program is? (I say that not out of arrogance, but simply because I want to apply to a variety of safety, match, and reach schools.) For example, while I know that UC Merced has a not-so-hot reputation, they seem to have several different projects in renewable energy technology.

    I'm just wondering if there is a more efficient way to conduct my graduate school search than to just scour the many webpages of several departments of top physics schools for interesting research. Does anyone have any tips?

    Additionally, I apologize if this has been discussed in another forum. I've read many forums about alternative energy schools, but it seems as if most of them are focused on "which major should I pick," whereas I'm more curious about how to conduct a graduate school search for a field that is spread over several disciplines.

    Thanks for any input!
     
  2. jcsd
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