U.S. Department of Energy

    Solar Cell Researchers Awarded Prestigious Dan David Prize

    March 14, 2007

    Two solar cell researchers from DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) were awarded the Dan David Prize on March 8th in Paris, France. Jerry Olson and Sarah Kurtz were selected for their "exceptional and profound contributions to the field of photovoltaic energy," according to the prize committee. The two NREL researchers pioneered the multi-junction solar cell, which uses multiple layers of semiconductors to capture broad swaths of the solar spectrum, yielding a solar cell with high conversion efficiency. Spectrolab recently used a triple-junction solar cell to achieve a record 40.7 percent conversion efficiency, that is, it converts 40.7 percent of the incident sunlight into electricity. The Dan David Prize, now in its sixth year, is organized around the past, present, and future. This year's future award focused on the "Quest for Energy," and included Olson, Kurtz, and NASA climatologist James Hansen. The three will share a $1 million cash prize that accompanies the award. See the NREL press release and the Dan David Prize Web site.