Professor Fenning’s research focuses on engineering materials for renewable energy conversion and storage, especially low-cost photovoltaics, direct photoelectrochemistry, and hybrid photovoltaic-electrochemical systems. Current research includes defect engineering in high-efficiency silicon solar cells, and coupling photovoltaics with electrochemistry for solar-to-fuel water splitting and CO2 reduction. His research emphasizes understanding and parameterizing defect/reaction kinetics and leverages a variety of synchrotron- based X-ray characterization, including in-situ synchrotron-based measurements of semiconductors, catalysts, and electrode interfaces. By developing a thorough understanding of the defects that dictate device performance, Professor Fenning’s research works toward the development of predictive models of material processing that enable accelerated material development and innovation.
David Fenning joined the Department of NanoEngineering at UC San Diego as an assistant professor in 2015. Prior to this, he was an MIT/Battelle postdoctoral fellow in solar-to-fuels photoelectrochemistry at MIT. He received his Ph.D. from MIT in 2013 for his work on defect engineering in photovoltaics after which he joined 1366 Technologies, a silicon PV wafer startup, as an R&D consultant. He received a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Stanford University in 2008.