Mechanical Engineering Researcher, Shubhra Bansal, Receives NSF CAREER Award
The College is proud to announce that Dr. Shubhra Bansal, mechanical engineering assistant professor, is the recipient of the prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award. Bansal will use her five-year grant to develop novel Pb-free and stable perovskite materials for high efficiency solar cells.
Pb-based organic-inorganic halide perovskite solar cells (HPSCs) have shown tremendous promise with a big leap in efficiency in the last decade. However, due to the toxicity of Pb and the instability of HPSCs, these materials may pose issues for their widespread use and commercialization. Bansal’s project will develop Pb-free perovskite materials via defect engineering for high efficiency and stable solar cells. Solar PV is the fastest growing renewable energy technology in the U.S. and a low-cost alternative to Pb-based HPSCs can revolutionize next generation devices. Levelized cost of energy (LCOE) and degradation prediction models will also be developed to determine energy yield, degradation rates, encapsulation and recycling costs for these next generation technologies.
In addition to the scientific advancements, Bansal will train underrepresented graduate and undergraduate students in climate change and materials for renewable energy technologies. Bansal will also host a series of workshops and foster key international collaborations to identify and address the roadblocks for the development of high efficiency and Pb-free HPSCs.
Read the full project abstract, here.
Bansal joined UNLV in 2015. Her research has focused on understanding the evolution of defects in materials and the effect of defect engineering on reliability and metastability. Her research group at UNLV works on materials development and reliability analyses for thin-film photovoltaics, flexible electronics, sensors and detectors. Her research has been funded by the Department of Energy, and NSF and NASA EPSCoR programs. Bansal also teaches several course in Materials Science and Engineering, Climate Change and Renewable Energy Technologies. She won the UNLV Faculty Achievement Award for the College of Engineering in 2020. Prior to joining UNLV, Bansal worked as a Materials Scientist at GE Global Research and as a Technical Advisor with the SunShot Initiative at the Department of Energy. She holds a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and a B.S. in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, India.
Bansal is the first faculty member in the Mechanical Engineering department at UNLV to win the CAREER Award.
About the CAREER Award
The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization. Activities pursued by early-career faculty should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research.