Prof. Fenning


Prof. Fenning’s CV

Google Scholar Page

Hello! I am an Associate Professor in the Nanoengineering department at UC San Diego, where my group works on unlocking insights regarding defects in energy materials to both improve efficiency and lower cost of solar power and solar energy storage.

I completed a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2013 based on my work on high-temperature defect engineering of metal impurities in silicon solar cells. After finishing my Ph.D., I had the unique opportunity to put it straight to work. I consulted at silicon solar technology company 1366 Technologies, working with their talented R&D team toward deploying solar at the cost of traditional coal-based power.

To address the intermittency challenge that solar power faces,  I returned to MIT to work on solar energy storage technologies, including solar-to-fuel electrochemistry. In MIT’s Electrochemistry Energy Lab, I pursued projects in photoelectrochemistry and solar-to-fuels research based on a variety of materials platforms and device architectures.

Our current work focuses on near, medium, and long-term R&D in renewable energy, specifically: silicon solar cells, perovskite solar cells, and solar fuel carbon dioxide electroreduction. Our work in solar cells now has a significant component around understanding and improving the durability of solar cells and modules. We envision a future where solar panels last for generations — after all, ideally only electrons are moving around!  On the CO2 reduction electrochemistry side, we are interested in the fundamentals of defect- and strain-enhanced catalysis.

I enjoy working with a diverse group of dedicated scientists and engineers focused on generating the materials innovation we need to power our society using clean and renewable technologies. If you are interested or want to learn more, don’t hesitate to contact us!