The Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies at Sandia recently received a $900,000 grant to investigate the tiniest parts of solar materials.

The new grant, announced by the U.S. Department of Energy in late August, will fund development of new microscopy tools to help understand the chemical and electronic structure of thin-film photovoltaic, or solar, materials and how microscopic variations limit performance. The project is part of the Energy Department’s efforts to encourage collaboration among engineers and scientists developing advanced solar power technologies and research teams using the tools and expertise of the DOE’s Scientific User Facilities.

The grant is part of the SunShot Initiative, a national effort to develop solar energy.