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Tonio Buonassisi

Tonio Buonassisi

Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Department of Mechanical Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Ave, 35-213
Cambridge, MA 02139


  • Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Tonio Buonassisi, assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, heads an interdisciplinary laboratory focused on photovoltaics (solar energy conversion into electricity). Prof. Buonassisi completed his Ph.D. in Applied Science and Technology at University of California-Berkeley, with additional research at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems and the Max-Planck-Institute for Microstructure Physics. Buonassisi's thesis research revealed the chemical natures of metal defects in multicrystalline silicon solar cell materials using synchrotron microprobe techniques, which led to the founding of solar start-up Calisolar, Inc.

After his Ph.D., Buonassisi broadened his research focus from materials to devices. At Evergreen Solar Inc., he applied his defect-engineering techniques to improve performance and yield of ribbon silicon solar cell manufacturing, while a member of the team that brought a new crystal growth platform into production. Since founding his MIT research group in 2007, Prof. Buonassisi invents, develops, and applies defect-engineering techniques over the entire solar cell process, from crystal growth to modules, improving the cost effectiveness of commercial and next-generation solar cells. Prof. Buonassisi excels in bringing sceince-driven breakthroughs into industry, and co-founded the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems in Cambridge, MA.

Prof. Buonassisi is an author of 101 journal, conference, and workshop articles focused on PV, and has delivered 88 invited talks and plenary/oral presentations on his work throughout the world. His work has been honored with awards including the European Materials Research Society Young Scientist Presentation Award, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Graduate Research Fellowship, and a 2010 Deshpande Center Innovation Grant.


  • PhD, University of California-Berekeley, 2006
  • BS, University of Notre Dame, 2001