Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL)

Laboratory of Photovoltaics and Thin Film Electronics (PVLab), Institute of Microengineering (IMT) Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), formerly University of Neuchatel

The Laboratory of Photovoltaics and Thin Film Electronics (PVLab) recently changed its affiliation from the University of Neuchatel (UniNe) to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL). The main research topics of the group are devoted to the development of solar cells based on thin film silicon, light trapping surface structures, packaging and reliability testing, and thin film silicon microelectronics. The laboratory pioneered several developments which are considered of paramount importance for current state of the art devices.

The laboratory holds a certified world record efficiency of 9.5% (stable) for amorphous single junction pin solar cells glass using a textured LPCVD ZnO front contact. And recently demonstrated 13.3% initial tandem cell on a similar TCO.

The PVLab operates various deposition systems for transparent conducting oxides, metallization, and PECVD of thin film silicon; substrate sizes vary between 8x8cm2 for fundamental studies and 41x52 cm2 for investigations under near-production conditions. A variety of tools are available for complimentary analyses like measurement of J-V characteristics, quantum efficiency, Raman crystallinity, UV-Vis and IR spectroscopy, thermographic shunt analysis, etc. Towards a more product oriented side, the PVLab also investigates in encapsulation and reliability testing. The PVLab is collaborating or has conducted technology transfer with photovoltaic equipment suppliers like OC Oerlikon, Roth and Rau, 3S, Pasan, etc, and cell/module manufacturers like Flexcell, Q-cells, Malibu, Schott, etc.

Role of EPFL-PVLab in SILICON-Light

PVLab will be leading WP5 (high efficiency solar cells) and contribute its experience to the other work packages, WP2 (light trapping) and WP3 (silicon layers) in particular.