N. Benson, K. Rojek, D. Pandel, F. Langer, S. Sirotinskaya, L. Kühnel

Over the last two decades, photovoltaic power generation has been widely accepted as a viable possibility to generate electricity in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way. Furthermore, the technology is expected to play an important role in changing today’s energy mix. The goal is to no longer solely depend on limited fossil fuels and power supplies that when in use significantly pollute the environment. However, for this change to happen, problems remain to be solved. Such challenges include energy storage or production cost. The reduction in cost per watt is a key aspect for future photovoltaic applications that is currently being addressed by research and development using two approaches for second generation and third generation solar cells:

I. Thin film photovoltaics: The use of production technologies which are substrate size independent and do not require monocrystalline substrates (Advantage: low cost; Disadvantage: low power conversion efficiency).

II. Alternative device design: For example, the use of tandem cells or strategies for the implementation of nanostructures in order to significantly increase the power conversion efficiency and to overcome the Shockley-Queisser limitit of ~33% (valid for Si) for non concentrator photovoltaics (Advantage: high power conversion efficiency; Disadvantage: high cost).

The photovoltaic team concentrates on work with third generation solar cells. The overall goal is to use alternative material systems for thin film photovoltaic in a combination with nano structure technologies. Our research is therefore directed towards the evaluation of possibilities on how to combine low cost per watt with high conversion efficiencies.



Prof. Dr. Niels Benson