Photovoltaics department

The „Photovoltaics“ (PV) department at ISFH develops, improves, and analyzes innovative photovoltaic components in order to significantly reduce the levelized costs of electricity. The work of the department spans the entire value chain from silicon wafers to solar cells and modules. Our work includes fundamental materials research, process development, analysis of solar cells using simulations and measurement setups that were built in-house, as well as optimization of solar cells and modules. Our applied research is focused on mid-term solutions and industrial applications.

The department consists of six different groups that are organized in a matrix structure (see image on the left). The aim is to supply innovations to the global market (on the right side of the image), which has long been dominated by the Back Surface Field (BSF) technology but is currently switching to the Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell (PERC) concept. The three vertical groups within the matrix develop solar cells. They differ with regard to the timeframe for expected market introduction. For the group “Industrial solar cells” this timeframe is 1 to 3 years, for the group “Emerging solar cell technologies” it is 3 to 5 years, and for “Future technologies photovoltaics” it is 5 to 15 years. Ideally, research topics should move from left to right over time. The three horizontal groups “Photovoltaics materials research”, “Solar cell characterization and simulation”, and “Module technologies” work on intersecting topics that are important to all solar cell generations.

Research topics

  • Loss and sensitivity analysis of solar cells on the basis of solar cell modeling using precisely measured input parameters
  • Key technologies for the inexpensive production of high-efficiency solar cells (e.g. poly-silicon contacts)
  • Surface passivation of silicon solar cells (SiO2, SiNx, Al2O3, a-Si, poly-Si)
  • High-efficiency screen-printed PERC solar cells
  • Heterojunction solar cells (Polymer/c-Si)
  • High-efficiency cells with poly-Si on oxide (POLO)-contacts
  • Industry-related technology and process development
  • Kerfless fabrication of ultra-thin silicon wafers
  • Novel camera-based characterization techniques for silicon materials, solar cells, and modules
  • Analysis of defects in silicon and their impact on solar cell and PV module properties
  • Innovative interconnection techniques for PV modules
  • Long-term stability of solar cells and PV modules
  • Mechanical properties of modules
  • Device and process simulation

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