New energy conversion devices such as solar cells are crucial for many reasons – electricity, heating or even transportation. CIGS solar cells (Cu(In, Ga)Se2) are already competitive in the photovoltaics market, but they are still more expensive than traditional technologies.
Project NovaCell is managed by the Nanofabrication for optoelectronic applications – NOA research group and they focus their work and research on the incorporation of nanotechnology in optoelectronic devices with a strong industrial and innovation potential
In this project, NOA research group is developing novel architectures of CIGS solar cells. By reducing the solar cell thickness, researchers want to reduce the fabrication costs by material savings and by increasing the machine throughput. The new optimised solar cell structure provided a 700 nm-thick CIGS solar cell with a light-to-power conversion efficiency above 16%. Before the project, typical values for such cells were around 5-8%.
These pioneering architectures will allow the production of solar cells which are flexible, and operate under adverse low light conditions, with the additional advantage that they can easily be fabricated in custom-made areas varying from large meters to a few millimetres.