In 2010, scientist Howard Branz, a research fellow at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, was part of a team honored for reducing reflection waste by turning silicon cells black. Now, Branz has been honored again -- this time for his work on thin films and nanostructures -- by the American Physical Society. Here are the details.
* Branz was elected a fellow of the American Physical Society, an honor bestowed yearly on fewer than one-half of 1 percent of the organization's 50,000 members, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory reported this week.
* According to the laboratory, Branz was elected for his research on "thin film silicon: defects, metastability, growth processing, nano-structuring and solar cells."
* The award in 2010 for black silicon was given to Branz's National Center for Photovoltaics team by R&D 100 Magazine after the team showed that the process of turning silicon black produced a confirmed record of 18.2 percent efficiency for a nano solar cell.
* In 2010, Branz also won the Southeast Regional Laboratory Consortium Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer.
* Described as a talented, productive scientist who is gifted at creating novel renewable energy technology, and a brilliant research organizer, Branz has been recognized worldwide for research in nano-structured anti-reflection silicon, solar hydrogen production and defects and diffusion in semiconductors, the national laboratory reported.
* Branz was also recently named to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's Research Fellows Council , which advises the lab on enhancing the quality and defining the direction of science and technology. A spot on the 10-member council is reserved for those who have national and international recognition in their fields of science.
* Branz obtained his Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and joined the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in 1987. He has published 106 journal articles and 104 conference papers.
* Branz also has 17 patents issued or applied for and five pending National Renewable Energy Laboratory Records of Invention.
* The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, based in Golden, Colo., is operated for the U.S. Department of Energy by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.
* The American Physical Society is a non-profit membership organization working to advance the knowledge of physics. Its membership includes physicists in academia, national laboratories and industry throughout the world.
- Nature & Environment