Helmholtz Virtual Institute „Microstructure control for thin film solar cells“

In this Virtual Institute (VI), the formation of structural defects and related strain during the growth of thin film solar cells will be investigated by combining various experimental as well as simulation approaches.  The aim of this VI is to understand and control the formation of structural defects and strain during the growth of polycrystalline silicon (poly-Si) and Cu(In,Ga)Se2 (CIGSe) thin films by optimized growth parameters.  Unique experimental in-situ techniques for monitoring the growth process of these thin films, such as X-ray diffraction and fluorescence analysis at a synchrotron beamline, are combined with phase field modeling as well as density-functional theory and molecular dynamics simulations. Results from this work are correlated with electrical properties of poly-Si and CIGSe thin films and power-conversion efficiencies of the corresponding solar cells. Controlling the microstructure of poly-Si and CIGSe thin films by using an appropriately chosen set of growth parameters will provide the means to improve the overall solar-cell performance substantially.

More information on the specific projects: overview PhD1-PhD-6

  • Funding: Helmholtz Association
  • Leading Center: Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie
  • German university partners: FU Berlin, TU Berlin, MATHEON (DFG Research Center Mathematics for Key Technologies), TU Darmstadt
  • Associated national partners: Max-Planck Institut für Eisenforschung, Max-Planck-Institut für Intelligente Systeme
  • International partners: University of Oxford (UK), ETH Zurich (Schweiz), SuperSTEM (EPSRC National Facility for Aberration Corrected STEM, UK)
  • Start: November 2012

News and Activities

  • 22. - 26.02.2015 - Winterworkshop on Microstructure Characterization and Modeling for Solar Cells: Spitzingsee (click here for the tentative schedule)
  • 02. - 07.11.2014 - VI Autumn school: Potsdam, Resort Schwielowsee (read the press release here (german))
  • 13. - 14.01.2014 - VI Project Meeting: Zuse-Institut Berlin (ZIB)
  • 14. - 18.10.2013 - Introduction week: Lise-Meitner-Campus, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin
  • 13. - 14.06.2013 - VI Project Meeting:  Campus of TU Darmstadt
  • 26.11.2012 - Kick-off meeting