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10 december 2018

Closed FOM programme

Number 113. 
Title Nano-photovoltaics (NPV)
Executive organisational unit AMOLF
Programme management Prof.dr. A. Polman
Duration 2009-2015
Cost estimate M€ 2.2

The objective of this programme is to exploit recent advances in nanoscience and nanotechnology to realize solar cells with increased efficiency and/or lower materials costs. The programme is based on exploiting enhanced light absorption and carrier collection in ultrathin film, nanowire and quantum dot solar cells. The programme has four key focal points:
1. Enhanced light coupling into ultra-thin film and low-dimensional inorganic semiconductor absorber layers using plasmonic and photonic nanostructures;
2. Design and synthesis of quantum dot multijunction and multispectral absorber layers with enhanced carrier collection efficiency;
3. Enhanced light coupling using nanowire graded-index surfaces;
4. Integration of these concepts in novel nanoscale solar cell geometries.
The programme focuses on achieving fundamental understanding of light-matter interaction in novel solar cell geometries at sub-wavelength length scales and will lead to entirely new design concepts in photovoltaics.

Background, relevance and implementation
The development of renewable energy sources is of great importance to achieve a society with a sustainable energy supply. Photovoltaics has the promise of a clean and practical technology that can be applied at large scale. However, the costs of photovoltaic energy conversion presently exceeds significantly the costs of 'conventional' electricity. To solve this problem, breakthrough developments are required. The goal of this programme is to investigate such possible breakthroughs, focussing on the development of novel solar cell geometries with increased efficiency or with reduced fabrication costs.
The programme brings together three research groups that combine a unique complementary expertise in nanophotonics, plasmonics, semiconductor nanowire opto-electronics, and ultra-fast and THz spectroscopy in low-dimensional systems. It is carried out within an international network of collaborators at the California Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and the Australian National University. While the programme will focus on fundamental concepts, prototype devices will be fabricated as well. This will facilitate transfer of knowledge to the photovoltaics industry.

The final evaluation of this programme will consist of a self-evaluation initiated by the programme leader and is foreseen for 2014.

Please find a research highlight that was achieved in 2013 within this FOM programme here.