Partners

IREC: Fundació Institut de Recerca de l’Energia de Catalunya, Spain

General description:

IREC is a private Foundation with the participation of the Catalan regional government (Generalitat de Catalunya), the Spanish Ministries of Industry, Energy and Tourism and of Economy and Competitiveness, the Univ. of Barcelona, the Polytechnic Univ. of Catalonia, the Univ. Rovira Virgili and private companies from the energy sector. The Institute constitutes a research organization committed to carry out, promote, spread, transfer and improve research activities in the energy and environment sectors of knowledge and of their applications.

Main tasks in the project:

  • Project coordination
  • Process characterisation (ESR1.3): advanced characterization of kesterites by light scattering methods. Development of secondary phases identification and quantification by Raman scattering technique and possible extension for in-situ/in-line process monitoring
  • Synthesis of photovoltaic grade CZTSSe by chemical routres (ESR2.3) and its characterization. Synthesis of reference cells by PVD and preparation and characterization of solar cells.

Experience & competences relevant to the project:

The research group involved in this project belongs to the Area of Advanced Materials for Energy of IREC. The group has a significant activity and expertise in the study of thin film heterostructures for different applications as gas sensors and solar cells. In the field of kesterite based solar cells, the group has a strong experience in the synthesis and advanced microstructural characterization and process monitoring in kesterite based PV technologies, and in the implementation and characterization of solar cells. Technological and characterisation facilities available at IREC include Chemical and electrochemical workshops, equipments for thin film deposition and processing (sputtering, CBD, tubular furnaces…) required for the fabrication of solar cells, as well as a wide range of advanced characterisation techniques including Raman scattering, XRD, TEM, nanoscopic techniques (SNOM, AFM, STM), optical techniques (FTIR, UV-VIS spectroscopies, PL), AES, XPS, UPS, TOF-SIMS, Nanotechnology facilities for preparation of specific specimens and devices for TEM (FIB) and electrical/optoelectronic characterisation tools.

 

UL: University of Luxembourg

UL: University of Luxembourg

General description:

UL is the University of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. UL, as one of the central government driven research institutions in Luxembourg, aims to apply its research towards topics which address the public interest. As one of the youngest universities in Europe, founded in 2003, it built directly on the Bologna system. This institution offers a range of high-quality Bachelor degrees; however the focus of its teaching is always on Master and PhD degree. Special attention is given to research which focuses on particularly promising areas. The academic staff members come from all around the world and work in interdisciplinary teams. The university wants to serve the society and economy of Luxembourg as a place of reflection, and to develop into a motor of economic diversification. Close links exist to EU institutions, the financial centre and the Luxembourg job market. The project will be hosted by the Laboratory of photovoltaics (LPV). LPV was founded in 2007 in the framework of the TDK Europe professorship “New materials for solar cells”. We focus on two issues:

  • The development of new structures and processes for the preparation of thin film solar cells
  • The fundamental materials physics of novel semiconductors used as absorbers in these devices.

We concentrate on chalcopyrite and kesterite materials.

Main tasks in the project:

  • preparation of reference kesterite material
  • opto-electronic defect spectroscopy
  • coordination of WP1: analysis of fundamental properties of kesterites

Experience & competences relevant to the project:

The lab has all the equipment needed for solar cell development and characterisation as well as a host of opto-electronic methods for defect spectroscopy. We have developed kesterite solar cells to an efficiency of 7.5% (Nov. 2012). This was possible by identifying a proprietory annealing route which prevents Sn loss from the precursor. One of the two reports in the literature (Nov. 2012) describing photoluminescence spectra good enough for defect spectroscopy is from our lab.

 

HZB

HZB: Helmholtz Zentrum für Materialien und Energie GmbH, Germany

General description:

The Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie (HZB) is a large scale research facility within the Helmholtz-Association in Germany. Research at HZB focuses on new materials and complex engineering materials, including the development of new solar cell materials. HZB operates two large scale scientific facilities for investigating the structure and function of matter: the research reactor BER II, for experiments with neutrons, and the electron storage ring BESSY II, producing an ultra bright photon beam ranging from Terahertz to hard X-rays. Solar energy research at the HZB focuses on the technology for the next generation of thin film solar cells, including new kinds of materials and innovative cell structures. Long-term goals are the development of efficient and competitive thin film solar cells.

Main tasks in the project:

  • Development of in-situ process monitoring and control of PVD processes for the fabrication of kesterite solar cells by optical non-destructive techniques. Synchrotron based in-situ analysis of absorber growth mechanisms of CZTS absorber layers (ESR 4.2)
  • Development of adapted buffer layers and transparent conductive oxides on CTZS absorbers for CZTS-based heterojunctions. Investigation of surface and interface properties and assessment of current transport (ESR 3.1)

Experience & competences relevant to the project:

The Institute of Technology and the Institute of Heterogeneous Materials Systems at the HZB have large thin film deposition laboratories with sputtering, coevaporation and e-beam systems as well as rapid thermal anneal setups and various facilities for the preparation of buffer and window layers. Research is focused on the deposition of chalcopyrite and kesterite-type thin film materials and solar cells on glass as well as alternative substrates. Several unique deposition chambers can be used for in situ X-ray fluorescence and diffraction measurements at synchrotron facilities. The laboratory for thin film analysis includes setups for X-ray fluorescence mapping, grazing incidence X-ray diffraction, electron microscopy (EBSD, EBIC, CL, EDX). Optical and electrical analysis can be performed with admittance and low temperature photoluminescence spectroscopy. Analyses of interfaces are performed using the CISSY endstation at the BESSY synchtrotron, where methods such as photoelectron spectroscopy and X-ray emission spectroscopy can be applied.
EMPA

EMPA: Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology

General description:

Empa is an interdisciplinary research and service institution for materials science and technology development within the ETH Domain. Empa’s research and development activities are oriented to meeting the requirements of industry and the needs of our society, and link together applications-oriented research and the practical implementation of new ideas, science and industry, and science and society. Established more than 128 years back, Empa is committed to achieving excellence in its research activities and thereby holds an essential position in the Swiss educational, research and innovation scene. “Materials for Energy Technologies” is one of the five strategic research directions at Empa.

Main tasks in the project:

  • Development of optimal CZTS and CZTSe based heterojunctions. Wide band gap semiconductors for alternative window and buffer layers. Analysis of back contact metals. Extension of processes to flexible substrates

Experience & competences relevant to the project:

The Laboratory of Thin Films and Photovoltaics (TFPV) at Empa is working on thin film solar cells and materials since 1988 under the leadership of Prof. Dr. A. N. Tiwari. Important contributions of his group include: development of record efficiency flexible CIGS and CdTe solar cells on polymer films; 18.7% efficiency CIGS and 13.6% efficiency CdTe solar cells on polymer film with processes suitable for roll-to-roll manufacturing; monolithic interconnected flexible solar modules; more than 18.5% efficiency CIGS and 15.6% efficiency CdTe solar cells on glass with a process suitable for in-line production; flexible CIGS solar cells on low cost stainless steel, aluminium foil and application of simple and safe non-vacuum CIGS deposition processes.

Group from Empa is well equipped for thin film deposition with different types of sputtering, e-beam evaporation, physical vapour deposition, chemical bath deposition, ultrasonic spray, paste deposition. Deposition capabilities include systems for small area (5×5) cm2 and up to (30×30) cm2 size glass and foil (metal or polymer) substrates. Empa has access to most of the advanced characterisation techniques needed for structural, chemical, optical and electrical properties of layers and interfaces. Also several photovoltaic characterisation techniques, e.g. I-V, C-V, spectral response are available.

 

Northumbria University

Northumbria University: United Kingdom

General description:

Northumbria is the largest university in the North East region of the UK, with 33,000 students, of which over 4,400 are international, travelling from more than 100 countries worldwide. Renowned graduates include Sir Jonathan Ive, Vice-President of Industrial Design with Apple and Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist Victoria Pendleton. Northumbria has a strong interest in renewable energy that includes solar and wind, as well as grid connection. Northumbria Photovoltaics Applications Centre (NPAC) has been involved in research on PV devices, systems and applications for over 25 years. Its work extends from being founder members of the first European projects in CIGS and CdTe cells in the 1980s to development of novel chalcogenide materials in the PV21 SUPERGEN Consortium funded by the UK’s, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), as well as several recent EU FP6/7 projects on thin film PV, including ATHLET and PEPPER.

Main tasks in the project:

  • Lead of WP2: Development of absorbers by PVD and chemical based processes
  • Development of optimised sputtering processes for PVD growth of device quality CZTSe (ESR2.1). Definition of PVD CZTSSe absorber synthesis with different composition/conditions, extension to the synthesis of CZT(S,Se), assessment of Se/S ratio.
  • Morphological, compositional, structural, optical and electrical characterisation of the films (including 4C characterisation).
  • Fabrication of photovoltaic devices, optoelectronic characterisation and correlation with its physical properties. J-V and opto-electrical characterisation

Experience & competences relevant to the project:

NPAC is part of the Energy Systems Research Group within the Faculty of Engineering and Environment at Northumbria University. NPAC has significant activity and expertise in the study of thin film photovoltaic (PV) materials. Recent research has included pioneering work with the University of Bath as part of the EPSRC funded PV21 SUPERGEN consortium. Research has included CuInAlSe2produced using the 2-stage process (conversion of sputtered metal precursors). The group led the New and Sustainable Materials Work Package (WP1) in the PV21 Project, which extended the research to Cu-Bi and Cu-Sb thin-film. Parallel activities include research into Sn-S based layers. In 2008, NPAC was the first research group outside Japan to produce devices based on  Kesterite (CZTSe) using the 2-stage process. Processing and characterisation facilities available include thin film processing techniques (magnetron sputtering, CBD, tube and RTP furnaces) required for the fabrication of solar cells, together with a wide range of characterisation facilities (including: XRD, SEM/EDS, AFM, SIMS) optical characterisation facilities (UV-VIS spectroscopy, PL) and facilities for device characterisation (Class A and Close match AM1.5 solar simulators and spectral response). It has recently developed a new four-coefficient (4C) system to characterise the electrical properties of semiconductors and is developing PL-imaging (PL-i) to investigate optical properties.

 

AIX_Marseille

AMU: Aix-Marseille University, France

General description:

The “Institut Matériaux Microélectronique Nanosciences de Provence” – IM2NP is one of the main research institutes of the Aix Marseille University (www.im2np.fr). With more than 320 scientists, engineers, technicians, PhD students in physics, chemistry and micro-electronics, the Institute gathers the required expertise for research and education in materials, microelectronics and nanosciences and supports a wide range of programs including modelling, design, architecture, processes, materials and their physico-chemical properties. IM2NP is run under the joint authority of the CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research) and two Universities : Aix-Marseille University and “Université du Sud Toulon-Var”. It is also associated with three Schools of Engineering : Ecole Polytechnique Universitaire de Marseille (Polytech’ Marseille), Ecole Centrale de Marseille and Institut Supérieur d’Electronique et du Numérique (ISEN).

Main tasks in the project:

  • Modelling and simulation of kesterite based cells.
  • Design of optimal Kesterite based solar cells configurations by the development and adaptation of software tools for the modelling and simulation.
  • Design of optimal devices in terms of efficiency: study of alternative materials and dimensions for back contact and buffer layers ; modelling of devices with gradual band-gap layers

Experience & competences relevant to the project:

The OPTO-PV team of IM2NP is performing modeling, fabrication, characterization of materials and solar cells. Its main research interests concern electrical and optical properties measurement and also the study of nanostructuration for photovoltaics (photonic crystals, silicon nanowires, localized plasmons). A strong expertise in modeling optoelectronic properties of solar cells has been developed in the team. It comprises 12 permanent staff and 12 post-doc and PhD students.

FUB: Freie Universitaet Berlin, Germany

General description:

The Freie Universitaet Berlin (FUB) is a dynamic university and one of nine universities in Germany awarded Excellence Status in the Germany-wide competition to promote top research at German universities. The FUB was selected not only for its future development concept “International Network University.” With five graduate schools and three clusters in addition to the development concept, it was the most successful university to win funding in this prestigious national competition.

Main tasks in the project:

  • Structural trends in off stoichiometric kesterite type compound semiconductors (ESR1.4). Synthesis of powder samples by solid state reaction, comprehensive chemical and structural characterization of the synthesized material. Planning and performing of neutron diffraction experiments.
  • Structural and microstructural characterization of CZTSSe thin films by grazing incidence X-ray diffraction (GIXRD).

Experience & competences relevant to the project:

The research group involved in this project belongs to the mineralogy-petrology-crystallography section at the Institute of Geological Sciences at the Department of Geosciences of the Freie Universitaet Berlin. The group of Prof. Schorr has a significant activity and expertise in structural investigation of ternary and quaternary semiconductors for photovoltaic applications, including synthesis of powder reference samples, chemical characterization by electron microprobe analysis (EMPA) and detailed structural analysis by neutron and X-ray diffraction methods. Facilities and infrastructure for the synthesis of powder samples as well as their characterisation concerning chemical composition, phase content and crystal structure are available at the Geoscience Department at the Freie Universitaet Berlin. This includes several one-zone furnaces, an electron microprobe system equipped with a WDX unit and a set of elemental standards as well as a X-ray powder diffractometer. The Department Crystallography at the Helmholtz Centre Berlin for Materials and Energy, where Prof. Schorr is the department head, will be also involved in the project. The Department Crystallography is responsible for the high resolution neutron powder diffractometer at the Berlin Research Reactor BERII, where experiments can be carried out on the basis of beam time proposals.

 

UAM

UAM: Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain

General description:

The UAM is a public institution focused on academic excellence and internationally renowned for both teaching and research, and hosts one of the largest scientific communities in Spain whose research meets international standards which has been recognized as “Campus de Excelencia” that incorporates highly qualified research groups from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). The Faculty of Sciences of the UAM, apart form being the largest educational standalone university center, is one of the most relevant university research centers in Spain. High profile research lines, prestigious research groups, national and international relationships with universities of excellence, and participation in large research projects make this Faculty a relevant player in science research in Spain.

Main tasks in the project:

  • Optical transport properties characterization in kesterites for solar cells (ESR1.2): determination of optoelectronic parameters (band gap and band alignment, electronic transport) and their dependence on growth parameters.
  • Synthesis of bulk and thin film kesterite compounds by PVD methods (ESR1.2)

Experience & competences relevant to the project:

The Photovoltaic Materials Group has a large experience in ternary and multinary compounds related to photovoltaic solar cells, both in their synthesis and in their characterization. The team have dealt with a considerable number of compositional (EDX, TXRF, RBS), structural (XRD, EXAFS), optical (transmittance, reflectance, spectroscopic ellipsometry) and electronic transport (resistivity, Hall effect) characterization techniques, many of them being available at UAM. In addition, different growth techniques and PVD thin film deposition methods (flash, e-beam, co-evaporation, sputtering) as well as thermal treatments in vacuum and different atmosphere are also available in the laboratory.

 

UU
UU- ASC: Uppsala University, Ångström Solar Centre

General description:

The ASC group is part of the department of Engineering Sciences, Solid State Electronics division at Uppsala University. The group is headed by Professor Marika Edoff and is located in the Ångström Laboratory.

Main tasks in the project:

  • Synthesis of photovoltaic grade CZTSSe by PVD (ESR2.2) and its characterization. Preparation and characterization of solar cells. Surface and interface characterization.

Experience & competences relevant to the project:

Since 1983 the group has been dedicated to heterojunction thin film solar cell research based on the Cu(In,Ga)Se2 materials system. The focus has been on Cu(In,Ga)Se2 growth issues as well as absorber/buffer interface studies using co-evaporation of the absorber and Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) growth of the buffer layers. The fundamental studies include XPS and UPS studies of buffer layers and band offsets between the absorber and the buffer layers. The group started activities in the area of Cu2ZnSnS4 based solar cells in 2010. The work is focused on reactive sputtering of precursor films and subsequent sulphurization in a purposely built furnace and extensive materials and device characterisation.

 

Abengoa
ASNT: Abengoa Solar New Technologies S.A, Spain

General description:

Abengoa Solar is a Spanish company based in Seville with two mayor businesses in solar renewable energy:

  • Energy sales and plant maintenance: This business activity consists primarily of selling energy and the management and operation of power plants through O&M contracts. In this business unit, there are the more remarkable milestones achieved in 2012.
    • Abengoa Solar reaches 743 MW in commercial operation with the addition of 4 solar complexes in Spain based on parabolic trough technology [additional 400 MW installed capacity].
    • Abengoa Solar has begun construction of two concentrating solar plants, Khi Solar One, a 50 MW solar tower and KaXu Solar One, a 100 MW parabolic trough plant, both of them located in South Africa.
    • New technologies, manufacturing and sales: This branch of our business is composed of new technology and key component development, technology transfer and the technical supervisory agreements. Also, it includes project promotion.

Abengoa Solar New Technologies S.A. (ASNT) is the company of Abengoa Solar who deals with all R&D activities. ASNT counts on the development of new technologies, which can be used either in its own plants or sold to third parties, as a competitive advantage leading to growth and viability. Technology evolves very rapidly, and viable, efficient alternatives are always needed for taking on new projects and fulfilling market needs. The pillars supporting Abengoa Solar’s technological innovation strategy are the following:

  • An international team of over 100 people dedicated to R&D, and research facilities in Seville (Spain) and Denver, Colorado (U.S.).
  • A global network for collaborating with leading sector institutions, including NREL in the U.S., Ciemat in Spain, DLR in Germany, and Australia’s CSIRO, as well as many universities and companies.
  • In Q4 2012, ASNT will launch an R&D center specialized in photovoltaics and photonics.

ASNT key areas include:

  • semiconductor and material layer deposition;
  • Materials and optoelectronics characterization (cell and real weather conditions monitoring);
  • laser integration technologies for optoelectronic devices: monolythical integration and LIFT laser stations.

Main tasks in the project (WP6) Industrial scale up, transferability and exploitation [ER6.1]:

  • Evaluate the scale-up and transferability of the PVD synthesis of Kesterite absorbers
  • Determine the critical points in the scale-up and transferability of the PVD synthesis of Kesterite absorbers
  • Identification of actions required for industrial exploitation of kesterite based solar cells


Experience & competences relevant to the project:

The research group involved in this project belongs to the PV technology group at ASNT. The group has experience in general Photovoltaics and has the following technological and characterisation facilities available: meterials and optoelectronic devices characterization techniques such as Raman, quantum response, solar simulators, XRF and s fiability station to monitor PV modules/prototypes at real field conditions.

 

 

Nexcis
NEXCIS, Rousset, France

General description:

NEXCIS is an start up which started its activities for development of thin film PV solar cells manufacturing in January 2009 including some early works from IRDEP (Institute of R&D on Photovoltaic Energy) on development of low cost Cu(In,Ga)(S,Se)2 (CIGS) solar cells and modules based on electrodeposition processes. NEXCIS is based in Rousset, South of France and aims commercial manufacturing of CIGS modules fabricated with its proprietary technology

Main tasks in the project:

Within the activities of Fellow ESR4.1., NEXCIS will be dealing with the “Quality control and process monitoring: application to industrial processes”. Specific tasks are:

  • Identification of suitable quality control tools at different stages of process fabrication using light scattering based methods. Understanding electronic and physico/chemical relations at material and device level. Developing and implementation of methodologies for quality control and transfer to in-situ process monitoring.
  • Development of in-situ process monitoring and control of PVD processes by optical non destructive techniques (reflectometry, Raman, photoluminescence). Synchrotron based in-situ analysis of processes for study of absorber growth mechanisms and development of laboratory-based optical process control techniques. Preparation of solar cells and correlation of their electronic properties with process monitoring. Optimized preparation of kesterite thin films by one-step coevaporation as well as two-step chalcogenization processes.

Within the activities of Fellow ER6.2., NEXCIS will be dealing with the “Waste management in industrial processes: requirements for an environmentally friendly process”. Specific tasks are:

  • Identification of main sources of waste at industrial process
  • Development of procedures for waste management according to security, process performance and environmental requirements.

NEXCIS will have a significant role in the development of the Training Program, providing the researchers with complementary training aspects more specific of industrial and private companies as those related to IPR management and industrial implementation of processes. This will allow ESRs and ERs to have the possibility to achieve experience not only in a scientific/academic based environment, but to extend their activities to related industries. This will be an excellent training opportunity for their future work, and will contribute to increase the working possibilities and prospects of the researchers in the job market.


Experience & competences relevant to the project:

Knowledge about sequence and build up of the metal stack, choice of precursor composition (alloys, pure metals or combinations) and knowledge about the Selenisation and/or Sulfurisation are typically NEXCIS Background Technology. Module fabrication and out-door testing are also relevant competences at NEXCIS.