As great as the talks are at MRS, and they have been fantastic so far, most presenters barely leave enough time for a couple of surface level questions, let alone any discussion. I suppose its because 15 minutes is a really short amount of time to give the audience a little background and sum up a year's worth of work. This is why I look forward to the discussion sessions and poster sessions all week.
Symposium M: Discussion: What will replace CdTe and CIGS?
The compound thin film photovoltaic community seems to be split into two factions these days: those who believe there is a shortage of tellurium and indium in the world, and those who don't. I was dissappointed with the discussion yesterday because it was basically these two groups argueing with each other about the merit of the work they were doing. What is worse is it was the same tired arguements being dragged up again. This is how every arguement between these two groups goes:
CdTe/CIGS Detractors: Tellurium is rare, indium is rare, cadmium is toxic
CdTe/CIGS Supporters: The only reason Te and In are rare is because they aren't used in large quantites and thats why they are rare. Cd toxicity can be addressed by recycling CdTe solar cells.
The thin film compound PV community would have been better served if the discussion had been focused on: a) how the mature technologies like CIGS and CdTe were competing with other PV technologies like silicon, GaAs and concentrators, b) what research should be done on the next generation of technologies in the pipeline to make them more competitve.
Wednesday Night Poster Session
I had a great time at this poster session! I spent most of my time talking to students who were working on my materials system. They were able to answer some of the questions I hadn't been able to find answers to in the literature. I was able to answer some of their questions and it was extremely productive for everyone.
P.S. I'd like to thank MRS for having dinner + drinks at the poster session :)