Sang M. Han, Ph.D.
Associate Chair, Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering
Director, Nanoscience and Microsystems Engineering
Member, Center for High Technology Materials
The University of New Mexico
2018 RAINFOREST INNOVATION FELLOW
As the 2018 STC Innovation Fellow, Dr. Han is recognized for his unique technologies that combine elements of chemical and electrical engineering to find solutions to renewable energy and energy conservation. Dr. Han has over 25 years of experience in electronic materials engineering and fabrication and is developing a portfolio of technologies related to these areas.
Solar cells today are becoming thinner to reduce weight and cost, while their performance is continuously improving. However, these thin cells are mechanically more susceptible to cracks that propagate through metal contacts, eventually leading to power loss. Dr. Han is developing a new metal-matrix-composite material for solar cells that incorporates conductive carbon nanotubes to extend the lifetime of solar panels. If silver gridlines on solar cells break, the carbon needles connect the broken parts and electrically bridge the cracks. By bridging these cracks, solar panels are able to produce electricity over a longer period of time, making them more competitive with fossil-fuel generated electricity. The crack-tolerant technology for solar panels is being developed for the terrestrial, space, UAV, and mobile-power photovoltaic markets.
In collaboration with Dr. S.E. Han, Dr. Han is also developing a microsphere-based coating technology that completely rejects all solar radiation while strongly emitting in mid-infrared. This technology, often referred to as radiative cooling, reduces the temperature of coated surfaces without using electricity. Heat is lost by radiation in the mid-infrared region, allowing temperatures to fall below the ambient temperature even under intense solar radiation. The coating technology has significant implications for saving energy in buildings and homes, and any application that requires heat management. Testing shows that it performs better than commercial solar-rejection paint, which has also been verified by a third-party coating company.
He is currently the Chief Technology Officer of Osazda Energy LLC, a startup company based on his metal matrix composite technology.