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Lawrence Livermore National Lab

About Lawrence Livermore National Lab

Staffed by more than 6,500 employees serving in an array of fields, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is the premier research and development facility for science and technology solutions to some of our nation's greatest challenges. The lab has a 60-year legacy of championing science in the national interest. Perhaps best known for its work securing the nation's nuclear stockpile and enhancing global security, LLNL is also advancing energy security through the discovery, development, production, and deployment of cost-effective, sustainable systems while protecting the environment.


Numerical models of solar cell device physics: LLNL has applied its deep expertise in first-principles computational materials science, in conjunction with world-class atomic-resolution imaging and chemical analysis using scanning transmission electron microscopy, to explore replacement buffer layer materials for record-efficiency thin-film photovoltaics. By working with a leading manufacturer of thin-film PV modules, the physical processes and compositions most relevant to actual devices were analyzed to suggest routes to improved efficiency by reducing photocurrent loss in the blue region of the solar spectrum. Device simulations enable rapid assessment of possible efficiency improvements with various process and materials selections, based on the atomistic understanding of defects and fundamental materials properties.

Solar forecasting: LLNL has a long history of using applied atmospheric science for forecasting purposes. This is lately being turned to develop methods for forecasting solar power production with timescales of minutes to days ahead. These forecasts are valuable to power utilities in balancing overall power generation on the grid to match demand. Solar power is subject to rapid fluctuations primarily due to cloud cover as well as slower fluctuations due to atmospheric clarity such as from smoke or humidity. The LLNL forecasting capability uses computer models, satellite data and ground observations to create forecasts for any location of interest.