Photovoltaic is an inexhaustible, clean source of energy. However, production costs for solar cells need to be further reduced. Nowadays solar cells and modules are typically made of crystalline silicon wafers. However, the shiny power generators could become more economical if they are constructed from very thin layers instead of material and energy consuming wafers.
The section photovoltaics, IEK-5, investigates the scientific basis and the technology for efficient and cost-effective solar modules made from silicon thin-films and related materials. The IEK-5 belongs to the world leading research institutions in the range of thin-film photovoltaics. The section covers the entire spectrum from research and development of the materials science to process- and device design and, finally, to demonstration of industrially relevant production methods.
Research concentrates on tandem devices made from amorphous and microcrystalline silicon with optimized power conversion adapted to the entire solar spectrum. For these solar cells the section develops conductive and transparent contact layers with well designed microstructure for optimized light coupling into the solar cell. Furthermore aspects of nanotechnology in the field of photovoltaics are being investigated. These activities embrace components for the improvement of light management as well as nano-structured materials as novel contact or absorber layers.