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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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Quick Facts

Average salary
Average salary
National Statistic Change Location
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$40,000 - $120,000
Projected job growth
Projected Job Growth
0 to 10 percent
Typical schedule
Typical schedule
Full-time
Typical workplace
Typical workplace
Hospital / Clinic, Indoor, Office, Military
Personal qualities
Personal Qualities
Analytical skills, Mathematical skills, Problem solving skills, Teamwork, Verbal communication skills, Written communication skills, Detail oriented, Technical skills

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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}});