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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

Eric A. Schiff

Schiff portrait



Biophysical Science

201 Physics Building


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.

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

News Articles

Innovations in Window Efficiencies

(Nov. 23, 2015)

Professor Eric Schiff works to stem energy loss from older, single-pane windows


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.