Li helps break world record at Alta Devices

Yanshu Li helped Alta Devices break a world record in efficiency on GalnP/GaAs dual-junction solar cells.

by Rebecca Rudell

Published July 29, 2016

In less than six months on the job at Alta Devices, Yanshu Li (BS/MS/PhD EE 2011/2014/2016; BA Math 2011) helped the solar power technology company break a world record.

“I gained a great deal of technical experience through my work at UB’s state-of-the-art cleanroom facilities, which prepared me well for my career."
Yanshu Li, R&D Engineer
Alta Devices

Li was the project owner of the research type GaInP/GaAs dual-junction solar cell, in which he developed a new fabrication process and prototype design that reduced contact resistance and increased thermal endurance. His new designs and methods helped his employer break the world record efficiency on GaInP/GaAs dual-junction solar cells.

While Alta Devices held the world record in 2013, it was surpassed by National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in late 2013. But with the new record efficiency of 31.6%, Alta Devices recaptured its record in December 2015, which was certified by NREL on January 8, 2016.   

During his time at UB, Li was the Moog Fellowship recipient from 2011 to 2013. His PhD research topic was nanotechnology in GaAs solar cells, and his advisor was SUNY Distinguished Professor Vladimir Mitin.

“I gained a great deal of technical experience through my work at UB’s state-of-the-art cleanroom facilities, which prepared me well for my position as an R&D engineer at Alta,” said Li. “The professors in the electrical engineering department were very accessible and gave me a lot of guidance.”

Li had a little additional help getting his job at Alta Devices. While attending the school’s 2015 Order of the Engineer ceremony, Li met Richard Chang (MS Nuclear Engineering 1979), CEO of Zing Semiconductor Corp. and UB’s Distinguished International Alumni Award recipient in 2013. The two men hit it off and Chang wrote a letter of recommendation for Li. Li started at Alta Devices just a few months later—and he is off to a great career!