Advanced thin film solar cell architectures

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Investigation and development of more efficient thin-film solar cell architecture for a greener future.

The energy coming from the sun has the highest potential energy of all renewable resources, and it is ~35,000 times higher than today's energy needs on a yearly basis. Semiconductor-based technologies, i.e., photovoltaic (PV) technologies, are developed to convert this energy into electrical energy. Today, the dominant market share (95%) belongs to Silicon (Si) PV technologies. However, considering the weight, rigidity, and processing restrictions of Si PV, alternative materials and technologies have been sought and developed over the years, of which thin film (TF) PV technology has a high potential among all TF PV technologies, Cu(In, Ga)Se2 (CIGS)-based solar cells have the highest cell and module efficiencies.

 

However, in order to compete with well-established Si solar cell technology, CIGS-based solar cells should reduce their production costs. Reducing the thickness of and using a simplified deposition method for the absorber layer can be the solution to this problem. Yet, reducing the thickness of the active layer of the solar cell, i.e. the thickness of the absorber layer, brings some drawbacks such as incomplete absorption of the light and increased recombination at the rear surface. All of these resulting in power conversion efficiency losses in CIGS solar cells. This work will be focusing on reducing the optical losses at the back contact, which are caused by poor reflectivity between Mo-MoSe2/CIGS interface. There are several ways to increase rear reflection such as adding nanoparticles, using dielectric layer, texturing and/or mirrors.

 

In this project, the candidate will investigate scattering nanoparticles in combination with texturing, at the rear surface. The aim is to implement this new approach to our existing structure, and try to improve the current collection without inducing losses in Voc, FF or other device parameters.

 

We prefer a candidate who

 

-           Studies Physics/Material Science or similar,

-           Have knowledge on photovoltaic technologies (background on thin-film solar cells is an asset)

-           Have basic knowledge of programming (is an asset)

-           Basic knowledge of MATLAB

-           Be a motivated student eager to work independently and expand knowledge in the field.

-           Have good written and verbal English skills.​


Type of project: Combination of internship and thesis, Internship, Thesis

Duration: minimum 6 months

Required degree: Master of Engineering Technology, Master of Science, Master of Engineering Science

Required background: Energy, Materials Engineering, Nanoscience & Nanotechnology, Physics, Chemistry/Chemical Engineering, Electrotechnics/Electrical Engineering

Supervising scientist(s): For further information or for application, please contact: Gizem Birant (Gizem.Birant@imec.be) and Bart Vermang (Bart.Vermang@imec.be)

Imec allowance will be provided for students studying at a non-Belgian university.

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