Deborah McGott

Deborah McGott

Postdoctoral Researcher-Materials Science

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Deborah McGott joined NREL's Materials Science Center in November 2021 as a postdoctoral researcher in Matthew Reese’s group. Her research focuses on the improvement of open-circuit voltage in cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar cells through passivation of the front interface. She is interested in novel solutions to long-standing problems and enjoys learning about diverse photovoltaic technologies.

Deborah received her bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2016 with honors and distinction in the major. She received her doctoral degree in materials science from Colorado School of Mines in 2021 for her work on the development and application of a novel technique to thermo-mechanically cleave CdTe solar cells. This work was conducted at NREL and is utilized in her current work as a means of accessing the front interface, which is typically buried in superstrate CdTe devices.

For additional information, see Deborah McGott's LinkedIn profile.

Disclaimer: Any opinions expressed on LinkedIn are the author’s own, made in the author's individual capacity, and do not necessarily reflect the views of NREL.

Research Interests


Polycrystalline thin-film solar cells

Surface passivation


Ph.D., Materials Science, Colorado School of Mines

B.S., Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara

Professional Experience

Graduate Researcher, NREL and Colorado School of Mines (2016–2021)

Undergraduate Researcher, University of California, Santa Barbara (2013–2016)

Research Intern, University of Oxford (2015)

Featured Work

3D/2D Passivation as a Secret to Success for Polycrystalline Thin-Film Solar Cells, Joule (2021)

Revealing the Importance of Front Interface Quality in Highly Doped CdSexTe1-x Solar Cells, ACS Energy Letters (2021)

Dual-Wavelength Time-Resolved Photoluminescence Study of CdSexTe1-x Surface Passivation via MgyZn1-yO and Al2O3, IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics (2021)

SnO2-Catalyzed Oxidation in High-Efficiency CdTe Solar Cells, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces (2019)

Thermomechanical Lift-Off and Recontacting of CdTe Solar Cells, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces (2018)

Increasing Markets and Decreasing Package Weight for High-Specific-Power Photovoltaics, Nature Energy (2018)


Controlled Thermomechanical Delamination of Thin Films, U.S. Patent No. 20190296170 (2019)

Awards and Honors

Young Researcher Award, European Materials Research Society (2021)

Best Paper of 2020 Award, Materials Science, Colorado School of Mines (2021)

First Place Oral Presentation, Graduate Research and Discovery Symposium (2018)