With the facilities of the SolarLab, atomic layers can be applied to solar cells, in a quick, controlled manner, making solar cells even more efficient.
Solar cells comprise various extremely thin layers of materials, each with its own job to do. Together they ensure that sunlight is converted into electricity as efficiently as possible, and that energy loss is minimized. To make solar cells even more efficient, scientists search ceaselessly for new materials and innovative ways of making these nanolayers. The SolarLab facilitates this research by providing state-of-the-art instruments.
Anti-reflective coatings and protective layers
With the facilities of the SolarLab, thin layers can be applied to a substrate at high speed and with extreme precision. Using this technology, scientists at TU/e developed thin coatings that prevent the reflection of sunlight. They also generated a highly effective passivating layer, a protective layer that prevents the leakage of charge. The SolarLab's facilities have enabled scientists to develop nanolayers made of perovskite: a very promising new material in the fabrication of solar cells.
The laboratory specializes in atomic layer deposition: the creation of various atomic layers on a substrate. This can be achieved in a number of ways, such as plasma-assisted atomic layer deposition, one of the methods in which the laboratory excels. As plasma is a reactive gas, it reacts with the atoms on the surface of the material to which it is exposed. When the reaction is complete, the surface is covered in a new layer.
With the SolarLab's deposition methods, the atomic layers can be applied quickly, accurately and precisely. What's more, as this process can take place at a low temperature, these methods are suitable for application to polymers and other organic materials. The scientists connected to the SolarLab have a thorough understanding of the processes that underpin the deposition methods. This knowledge forms a unique springboard for innovative solutions in the field of nanolayer deposition.
Scientists at TU/e cooperate in the SolarLab with a range of external partners, such as ECN, IMEC and Solliance. External companies, such as FEI, Levitech, Meyer-Burger, Océ, Philips and Toyota, also use the facilities. Interested parties can contact Erwin Kessels.