Dr Lal’s research uses nanophotonics to increase the absorption and efficiencies of next generation solar cells. Currently a significant amount of sunlight hits a solar panel and bounces straight back off it. Niraj is working on tandem solar cells using thin layers of new materials in conjunction with silicon, to aim for efficiencies of 30% and beyond, double what’s is possible in current panels.
Niraj is excited about communicating his discoveries and the wonders of the world. In the past 12 months he has given public shows on ‘the Science of Electricity’ at Questacon, at the ANU and to the University of the Third Age in Belconnen. He was awarded a 2013 National Science Week Grant to develop a show about the Science of Light for high school students, and was also invited be one of 100 Canberran scientists to speak at Questacon as part of its 100°C Centenary Celebrations.