Berlin lab leads research into high efficiency solar cells

Berlin-based semiconductor research centre Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin is collaborating with Soitec subsidiary Altatech to develop materials for high-efficiency solar cells.


Altatech is installing a single-substrate multi-chamber or materials deposition at HZB’s energy materials laboratory (EMIL) at the synchrotron light source BESSY II facility in Berlin.

The vapour-deposition system will be used by HZB to deposit amorphous silicon, transparent conductive oxides and ultra-thin dielectrics used in fabricating solar energy devices.

The two companies said they will “conduct atomic-layer deposition, plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition and physical vapor deposition on substrates ranging from small research samples up to fully industry-compatible six-inch wafers.”

“EMIL aims at exploring materials for high-efficiency photovoltaic cells and new catalytic processes for future solar energy generation and storage concepts. We will develop and characterize these materials with basic energy research methods, but prepare them with industrially related methods to ensure rapid industrial implementation,” said Prof. Klaus Lips, head of the EMIL project and HZB’s Advanced Analytics Group.

According to Jean-Luc Delcarri, general manager of Altatech, the collaboration with the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin will allow it to apply its material-deposition technology at “a state-of-the-art synchrotron radiation facility, and open the door to a new era in advanced renewable-energy development that will help researchers to tackle the challenges of future world energy needs.”

The Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie (HZB) operates and develops large-scale facilities for research with photons (synchrotron beams) and neutrons. It has 1,100 employees of whom some 800 work on the Lise-Meitner Campus in Wannsee and 300 on the Wilhelm-Conrad-Röntgen Campus in Adlershof.

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