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The Gaia Science Alerts project (GSA) aims to augment a precision survey of the Milky Way with a controlled, precision survey of all classes of transient phenomena. While onboard BP/RP spectra from Gaia will ultimately allow us to classify many Gaia Alerts based on Gaia data alone, in the initial phases of the GSA project it is necessary to verify and classify discoveries with ground-based spectroscopic followup. In this article, we describe a subset of the ongoing Gaia Alerts followup programmes, and some of the initial science results from this work.
We have been working on the development of wet-chemical processing methods that can be used to create thin film photovoltaic solar cells. Electrochemically deposition methods have been used to produce copper indium diselenide (CIS) thin films on molybdenum coated polymer substrates. CIS has an extremely high optical absorption coefficient, excellent radiation resistance, and good electrical conductivity and thus has proved to be an ideal absorber material for thin film solar cells. A series of compositionally different p-type CIS films were produced by using different electrochemical deposition potentials. Cadmium sulfide (CdS) window layers were deposited directly on these CIS films using a chemical bath process. CdS is a naturally ntype wide-bandgap semiconductor which has good transparency and is well lattice-matched to CIS. Zinc oxide thin films were grown by electrochemical deposition directly on the CdS films. ZnO is a transparent and conductive thin film that serves as the top contact of the cells. The structural and elemental properties of the individual ZnO, CdS and CIS films were characterized by x-ray diffraction and energy dispersive spectroscopy. The electrical behavior of the CdS on CIS junctions was determined using current versus voltage measurements. We will discuss the performance of these devices based on the physical properties of the component films and the processing methods employed in their fabrication.
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