Eric A. Schiff

Professor of Physics

Research Interests

  • Solar cell device physics, especially light-trapping and photocarrier transport effects.
  • Charge carrier transport and recombination in disordered materials (amorphous, porous, nanocrystalline).
  • Deposition processes for thin-film semiconductors.
  • Bonding defects and metastability in amorphous silicon.


1979 Ph.D. in Physics
Cornell University
1971 B.S. (honors) Physics and English
California Institute of Technology

Awards & Professional Honors

  • Fellow of the American Physical Society
  • Syracuse University Chancellor’s Citation for Excellence

Selected Publications

"Thermodynamic limit to photonic-plasmonic light-trapping in thin films on metals”, E. A. Schiff, J. Appl. Phys. 110, 104501-1..9 (2011).

"Amorphous Silicon-Based Solar Cells", E. A. Schiff, S. Hegedus, and X. Deng, in Handbook of Photovoltaic Science and Engineering, edited by Antonio Luque and Steven Hegedus (J. W. Wiley & Sons, Chichester, 2011), pp. 487-545.

"Hole drift-mobility measurements in polycrystalline CuIn1-xGaxSe2", S. A. Dinca, E. A. Schiff, B. Egaas, R. Noufi, D. L. Young, and W. N. Shafarman, Phys. Rev. B 80, 235201-1..12 (2009). [doi: 10.1103/PhysRevB.80.235201].

"Methods for Optimizing Thin Film Formation with Reactive Gases", Mason Terry, Malcolm Abbott, Maxim Kelman, Andreas Meisel, Dmitry Poplavsky, and Eric Schiff, United States Patent 7,572,740 B2 (issued August 11, 2009).

"Ambipolar Diffusion of Photocarriers in Electrolyte-Filled, Nanoporous TiO2," N. Kopidakis, E. A. Schiff, N.-G. Park, J. van de Lagemaat, and A. J. Frank, J. Phys. Chem. B 104¸3930-3936 (2000). DOI: 10.1021/jp9936603.

Research Spotlight

  • Image from a recent paper illustrating the modes in k-space that are accessible to a photon within a solar cell. Light-trapping is essentially a random walk around these modes, ultimately leading to escape through the black “hatch” at the top; this is “ergodic” behavior. The plasmonic modes at a metal/semiconductor interface enhance light-trapping in solar cells by increasing the number of modes that are confined within the solar cell.
  • Correpsonding paper