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MATERIAL SCIENCE RESEARCHER: Improving The Solar Cell

About this video 

Susan performs research on thin film solar cells and compound semiconductors. She studied crystallography in university, which is related to solid state physics. She tells us that if you are interested in material science, physics and chemistry are good starting places for your studies.

Degree: Crystallography
Job Title: Material Sciences Researcher
Employer: Helmholtz Center

Job Summary: Materials Scientists and Chemist

Job Description

Chemists and materials scientists work in basic and applied research. In basic research, chemists investigate the properties, composition, and structure of matter. They also experiment with the laws that govern the combination of elements and reactions of substances to each other.

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Average salary
Average salary
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$40,000 - $120,000
Projected job growth
Projected Job Growth
0 to 10 percent
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Typical schedule
Full-time
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Typical workplace
Office, Indoor, Hospital / Clinic, Military
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Detail oriented, Problem solving skills, Analytical skills, Written communication skills, Verbal communication skills, Teamwork, Technical skills, Mathematical skills
P3.instances[0].transcript.parse_transcript_data({"transcript":"<p><span m='438'>Hi,</span> <span m='876'>I am</span> <span m='1314'>Susan Schorr</span> <span m='1752'>from the</span> <span m='2190'>Helmholtz</span> <span m='2628'>Center</span> <span m='3066'>Berlin</span> <span m='3510'>in Germany.</span> <span m='5190'>I</span> <span m='5410'>work</span> <span m='5820'>on</span> <span m='6320'>materials</span> <span m='7080'>for</span> <span m='7300'>thin film</span> <span m='7420'>solar</span> <span m='7910'>cells.</span> <span m='9750'>These</span> <span m='10070'>solar</span> <span m='10480'>cells</span> <span m='10710'>are</span> <span m='10890'>expected</span> <span m='11780'>to</span> <span m='11940'>have</span> <span m='12490'>breakthroughs</span> <span m='13460'>over</span> <span m='13892'>the next</span> <span m='14324'>decades</span> <span m='16010'>to</span> <span m='16129'>make</span> <span m='16420'>more</span> <span m='16750'>use</span> <span m='17080'>of</span> <span m='17290'>the sunlight</span> <span m='17560'>and to</span> <span m='17830'>produce</span> <span m='18278'>more</span> <span m='18726'>electricity.</span> </p><p><span m='20070'>It's</span> <span m='20440'>not</span> <span m='20670'>silicon</span> <span m='21493'>like</span> <span m='22440'>you</span> <span m='22580'>maybe</span> <span m='22770'>know.</span> <span m='24350'>Mainly</span> <span m='25160'>all solar</span> <span m='25450'>cells</span> <span m='25950'>which you</span> <span m='26450'>find</span> <span m='26740'>on the</span> <span m='26940'>roofs</span> <span m='27430'>of</span> <span m='27660'>your</span> <span m='27730'>houses</span> <span m='27985'>are</span> <span m='28240'>made</span> <span m='28687'>of</span> <span m='29134'>silicon.</span> <span m='30030'>These are</span> <span m='30110'>silicon</span> <span m='30510'>wafer</span> <span m='30840'>solar</span> <span m='31010'>cells.</span> </p><p><span m='31440'>We</span> <span m='31540'>work</span> <span m='31820'>on</span> <span m='31960'>the</span> <span m='32380'>different</span> <span m='32930'>materials.</span> <span m='33760'>It's</span> <span m='34255'>a compound</span> <span m='34750'>semiconductor.</span> <span m='35740'>It's</span> <span m='36235'>a</span> <span m='36730'>sulfide</span> <span m='37225'>or a</span> <span m='37720'>silamide</span> <span m='38215'>compound,</span> <span m='38710'>and it's</span> <span m='39205'>a bit</span> <span m='39700'>more complicated</span> <span m='40195'>because</span> <span m='40690'>it</span> <span m='41185'>contains</span> <span m='43180'>three</span> <span m='43600'>or</span> <span m='43710'>four</span> <span m='44340'>or</span> <span m='44813'>even</span> <span m='45286'>five</span> <span m='45759'>chemical</span> <span m='46232'>elements.</span> <span m='47180'>And</span> <span m='47350'>I</span> <span m='47600'>investigate</span> <span m='49110'>particularly</span> <span m='49390'>the</span> <span m='49750'>crystal</span> <span m='50130'>structure,</span> <span m='50710'>so</span> <span m='51207'>I would</span> <span m='51704'>like</span> <span m='52201'>to know</span> <span m='53195'>on</span> <span m='53692'>which</span> <span m='54189'>side</span> <span m='54686'>in the</span> <span m='55183'>crystal structure</span> <span m='55680'>which</span> <span m='56177'>element</span> <span m='56674'>is</span> <span m='57171'>located.</span> </p><p><span m='58662'>And</span> <span m='59159'>even</span> <span m='59710'>more,</span> <span m='60120'>I</span> <span m='60250'>would</span> <span m='60410'>like</span> <span m='60630'>to</span> <span m='60760'>know</span> <span m='61160'>about</span> <span m='61641'>the point</span> <span m='62122'>defects.</span> <span m='62603'>So</span> <span m='63084'>that's,</span> <span m='63565'>in principle,</span> <span m='64046'>when</span> <span m='64527'>the</span> <span m='65010'>element</span> <span m='65319'>is</span> <span m='65650'>not</span> <span m='65830'>on</span> <span m='66010'>its</span> <span m='66170'>right</span> <span m='66320'>position.</span> <span m='67160'>It's on</span> <span m='67643'>a</span> <span m='68126'>position of</span> <span m='68609'>another</span> <span m='69092'>element</span> <span m='70060'>or</span> <span m='70100'>not</span> <span m='70740'>on</span> <span m='70920'>the</span> <span m='71120'>side</span> <span m='71350'>where it</span> <span m='71590'>should</span> <span m='72010'>be.</span> <span m='72280'>And</span> <span m='72756'>these</span> <span m='73232'>defects,</span> <span m='73708'>they</span> <span m='74184'>make the</span> <span m='75612'>electrical</span> <span m='76088'>properties</span> <span m='76564'>of the</span> <span m='77040'>material,</span> <span m='77516'>which</span> <span m='77992'>at least</span> <span m='78468'>determine</span> <span m='78944'>the efficiency</span> <span m='79420'>of the</span> <span m='79896'>solar cell.</span> </p><p><span m='80850'>I</span> <span m='81010'>studied</span> <span m='81410'>crystallography,</span> <span m='83220'>so</span> <span m='83420'>it</span> <span m='83540'>was a</span> <span m='83760'>five</span> <span m='84250'>years</span> <span m='84440'>study.</span> <span m='87030'>If you</span> <span m='87470'>don't</span> <span m='87610'>know</span> <span m='87710'>what</span> <span m='87910'>crystallography</span> <span m='88230'>is,</span> <span m='88590'>it's</span> <span m='88680'>related</span> <span m='89020'>to</span> <span m='89110'>solid</span> <span m='89370'>state</span> <span m='89650'>physics,</span> <span m='90140'>but</span> <span m='90583'>it's much</span> <span m='91026'>more than</span> <span m='91469'>solid state</span> <span m='91912'>physics.</span> <span m='92800'>And</span> <span m='93030'>it's</span> <span m='93220'>an</span> <span m='93330'>important</span> <span m='93790'>subject.</span> <span m='95185'>And</span> <span m='95510'>maybe</span> <span m='95950'>you</span> <span m='96090'>don't</span> <span m='96310'>know,</span> <span m='96550'>but</span> <span m='96850'>next</span> <span m='97200'>year</span> <span m='97720'>the</span> <span m='98180'>United</span> <span m='98700'>Nations</span> <span m='99090'>announced</span> <span m='100010'>an</span> <span m='100820'>International</span> <span m='101300'>Year</span> <span m='101780'>of Crystallography</span> <span m='102260'>2014.</span> <span m='103220'>It's</span> <span m='103700'>very</span> <span m='104180'>important.</span> </p><p><span m='105140'>The</span> <span m='105620'>most</span> <span m='106100'>important</span> <span m='106580'>thing</span> <span m='107060'>when you</span> <span m='107540'>think about</span> <span m='108020'>your future job</span> <span m='108500'>is</span> <span m='108980'>you</span> <span m='109460'>should do</span> <span m='109940'>something</span> <span m='110420'>where you</span> <span m='110900'>have</span> <span m='111380'>fun.</span> <span m='112570'>To</span> <span m='112650'>have</span> <span m='112820'>fun</span> <span m='113075'>is</span> <span m='113330'>very,</span> <span m='113816'>very</span> <span m='114302'>important.</span> <span m='115050'>If</span> <span m='115325'>you're interested</span> <span m='115600'>in</span> <span m='115680'>material</span> <span m='116150'>science,</span> <span m='117480'>there's</span> <span m='117980'>a variety</span> <span m='118640'>of</span> <span m='118960'>studies</span> <span m='119420'>now.</span> <span m='120370'>You</span> <span m='120665'>can</span> <span m='120960'>start</span> <span m='121220'>with</span> <span m='121390'>physics or</span> <span m='121850'>chemistry.</span> <span m='122950'>It's</span> <span m='123160'>not</span> <span m='123310'>possible</span> <span m='123670'>to</span> <span m='123770'>study</span> <span m='124080'>crystallography,</span> <span m='124840'>pure</span> <span m='125050'>crystallography,</span> <span m='125590'>anymore</span> <span m='126550'>now.</span> </p><p><span m='128470'>But</span> <span m='128950'>physics</span> <span m='129430'>and chemistry</span> <span m='129730'>is</span> <span m='130030'>a good</span> <span m='130419'>basics.</span> <span m='131153'>Also,</span> <span m='131520'>geosciences</span> <span m='132455'>is a</span> <span m='132890'>basics</span> <span m='133370'>you can</span> <span m='133850'>take.</span> <span m='134810'>And then</span> <span m='135290'>in the advanced</span> <span m='135770'>studies,</span> <span m='136250'>you have</span> <span m='136730'>to look</span> <span m='137210'>what you would</span> <span m='137510'>like to do.</span> <span m='138110'>But</span> <span m='138710'>please</span> <span m='139010'>have</span> <span m='139310'>fun.</span> </p>","file":{"id":208168,"video_id":"2701166439001","name":"63215945","duration":140223,"thumbnail_url":null}});