HZB receives financial support for improving the manufacturing process for CIGS solar cells

Sebastian Schmidt demonstrating one of the CIGS-Modules.

Sebastian Schmidt demonstrating one of the CIGS-Modules. © HZB

The Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has pulled in a large project for further improving the manufacturing process for CIGS thin-film solar cells together with partners in Germany and from the Netherlands. The atmospheric pressure process operates without involving toxic gases and will be more economical. It will run under the acronym ACCESS-CIGS, which stands for “Atmospheric European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) Competitive Elemental Sulpho-Selenisation for CIGS”.

Experts at the Competence Centre Thin-Film- and Nanotechnology for Photovoltaics Berlin (PVcomB) in Adlershof are developing an innovative process to fabricate CIGS layers for application in thin-film solar cells. CIGS stands for the compound Cu(In,Ga)(Se,S)2, consisting of copper, indium, gallium, selenium and sulphur. Polycrystalline CIGS solar cell technology is noted for its high efficiencies at the solar-cell level and high energy yields for solar modules.

The process pursued at PVcomB does not require a vacuum and utilises elementary selenium and sulphur to convert the metallic precursor layer of copper-indium-gallium to a polycrystalline CIGS semiconductor layer. This has the advantage that the process can be carried out without the use of toxic gases such as hydrogen selenide (H2Se), saving on production costs. This might permit the manufacture of CIGS solar modules to be considerably more economical and thus support the currently difficult market situation.

PVcomB has been successful in attracting funding of 800 000 EUR under the SOLAR-ERA.NET Initiative. Staff will be working on the technology as part of a bi-national European consortium over the next two years to optimise the addition of selenium and improve its influence on the crystallisation process.

The project will be carried out in cooperation with the companies TNO/Solliance and Smit Thermal Solutions, both located in Eindhoven, Netherlands, and with the firm Dr. Eberl MBE Komponenten in Weil der Stadt on the German side.


You might also be interested in

  • Stability of perovskite solar cells reaches next milestone
    Science Highlight
    Stability of perovskite solar cells reaches next milestone
    Perovskite semiconductors promise highly efficient and low-cost solar cells. However, the semi-organic material is very sensitive to temperature differences, which can quickly lead to fatigue damage in normal outdoor use. Adding a dipolar polymer compound to the precursor perovskite solution helps to counteract this. This has now been shown in a study published in the journal Science by an international team led by Antonio Abate, HZB. The solar cells produced in this way achieve efficiencies of well above 24 %, which hardly drop under rapid temperature fluctuations between -60 and +80 Celsius over one hundred cycles. That corresponds to about one year of outdoor use.
  • NETZWERKTAG der Allianz für Bauwerkintegrierte Photovoltaik
    NETZWERKTAG der Allianz für Bauwerkintegrierte Photovoltaik
    Der 2. Netzwerktag der Allianz BIPV findet statt am

    10:00 - ca. 16:00 Uhr

    Das HZB, Mitglied in der Allianz BIPV, freut sich, Gastgeber des branchenweiten Austausches zu sein. Neben Praxiserfahrungen von Vertretenden aus Architektur, Fassadenbau und angewandter Forschung steht der direkte Austausch und die Diskussion im Vordergrund.

  • Scientists Develop New Technique to Image Fluctuations in Materials
    Science Highlight
    Scientists Develop New Technique to Image Fluctuations in Materials
    A team of scientists, led by researchers from the Max Born Institute in Berlin and Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin in Germany and from Brookhaven National Laboratory and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States has developed a revolutionary new method for capturing high-resolution images of fluctuations in materials at the nanoscale using powerful X-ray sources. The technique, which they call Coherent Correlation Imaging (CCI), allows for the creation of sharp, detailed movies without damaging the sample by excessive radiation. By using an algorithm to detect patterns in underexposed images, CCI opens paths to previously inaccessible information. The team demonstrated CCI on samples made of thin magnetic layers, and their results have been published in Nature.