Dr. Ralph Hall is a Swansea University SPARC II researcher currently working on CdTe-based solar cell technology, focused on the development of back contacts, including infrared transparent back contacts. Ralph Hall has worked on many different compound semiconductor materials. He joined the Centre for Solar Energy Research in 2018 on an InnovateUK project, OTHELLO, on utilising near-infrared radiation transmitted through infrared transparent solar cells for heating working fluids in heat engines. CSER’s role in OTHELLO was developing back contacts for CdTe cells and comparing potential performance with other solar cell technologies.
Following a BSc degree in physics from the University of Edinburgh, he received a PhD from the University of St Andrews (1989) on deep levels in III-V and II-VI semiconductors. He worked for the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment, Malvern, UK (which became QinetiQ Ltd.) until 2010. His main work was on characterisation of narrow gap semiconductor devices and materials made from mercury cadmium telluride and indium antimonide, and their applications including infrared imaging. This included an understanding of materials growth and characterisation, device fabrication and characterisation, and integration with electronic and optical systems. Four patents were granted from this work. From 2011 to 2013 he worked in Estonia on commercial kesterite photovoltaic development (crystalsol OU/Gmbh). From 2013 to 2017 he worked on industrial applications of precision electrical characterisation of CMOS materials (eoSemi Ltd.).