Prof. Dr. Martina Schmid assumes the professorship of experimental physics at the University of Duisburg-Essen

On 1 January 2017, Martina Schmid assumed the W2 professorship of “experimental physics” in the Physics department of the University of Duisburg Essen. From 2012 to the end of 2016, Martina Schmid headed the Helmholtz Young Investigator Group “Nano-Optical Concepts for Photovoltaics” at HZB.

"I look forward to my new function at the University of Duisburg-Essen because it gives me the opportunity to continue pursuing my research topics in the field of solar energy and to develop new ideas," Martina Schmid says about her new appointment at the University of Duisburg-Essen.

Before her move, Martina Schmid and her team at HZB researched into nano-optical concepts for chalcopyrite solar cells. These solar cells already achieve high efficiencies, but require rare and expensive materials to produce. The young investigator group’s aim was therefore to minimise the usage of rare elements in chalcopyrite solar cells while maintaining or even increasing their efficiency.

"By integrating nanostructures into ultra-thin CIGSe solar cells, we successfully demonstrated a significant increase in the short-circuit current density. In cooperation with the Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics (AMOLF) in the Netherlands, we were able to achieve up to 93 percent of the maximum value attained by a thick CIGSe solar cell," Martina Schmid reports. The short-circuit current is the maximum current that a solar cell or photovoltaic module can deliver.

In a project with the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) and the Leibniz Institute for Crystal Growth (IKZ), Martina Schmid’s HZB young investigator group also succeeded in producing CISe absorbers that considerably reduce the usage of rare elements. Papers were published for both results in which the EE-NOPT group was involved.

Martina Schmid will continue to supervise the members of her former young investigator group until they have finished their final theses; they have since been integrated into various organisational units at HZB.

Short biography:

Prof. Dr. Martina Schmid studied physics at the University of Augsburg and completed her PhD at Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin on the optimization of tandem solar cells based on chalcopyrites. She earned several distinctions for her thesis, including the Carl-Ramsauer Award of the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft zu Berlin (DPG). After a research stay at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), she established her young investigator group at HZB in 2012.


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