Dilyara Timerkaeva, graduate of the Institute of Physics of KFU, made some progress in this matter while working at Joseph Fourier University.
After enrolling in a postgrad course at KFU Ms. Timerkaeva found out about a similar vacancy at Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble. She wrote a letter expressing her wish to join their research and was accepted to the Centre for Atomic and Alternative Energy under the guidance of Dr. Pascal Pochet.
Here she started studying silicon defects, atomic properties of crystal silicon with large quantities of dopants, interactions between those dopants in the crystals and formation of defects. This was a logical continuation of her research at Kazan University. She used the density functional method first acquired by her during her studies at the Advanced Material Design Lab under Dr. Dmitry Tayursky. The method was familiar, but the object, however, was new, since previously Ms. Timerkaeva had studied nanotubes, whereas now the focus was on silicon defects, their formation, evolution and influence on the properties of this indispensable semiconductor.
The research was directly linked to microelectronics and photovoltaics. Ms. Timerkaeva, being a theorist, had to cooperate with several teams of experimentalists.
The goal to find ways to battle battery capacity deterioration. Maximum efficiency of silicon is 25% (meaning that 25% of received solar energy can be transferred to electricity), silicon with dopants is cheaper but has a capacity of only about 16%. This is not the only problem – silicon with boron or oxygen dopants deteriorates by 2 percentage points in two years, or by 5 to 10 points during its life cycle.
According to Ms. Timerkaeva, her colleagues and she made some progress in understanding the mechanisms of interaction between silicon and oxygen, 'We managed to explain the anomalously fast diffusion of oxygen in silicon by P-type doped elements. This became possible through atomic simulations'. The results were published in peer-reviewed journals.
The young researcher now plans to return to Kazan University and become an assistant lecturer.