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High-performance, ultra-light flexible CIGS Solar Cell

Project description

High-performance CIGS solar cells thanks to improved synthesis methods

Solar cells based on copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) represent the highest-efficiency alternative to large-scale, commercial thin-film photovoltaics. CIGS layers are thin enough to be flexible, allowing them to be deposited on flexible substrates or be integrated into building facades. The EU-funded UL-Flex-Cell project aims to overcome certain fabrication challenges that have so far prevented CIGS solar cells from reaching their true potential. The project will utilise a pulsed hybrid reactive magnetron sputtering process to synthesise high-efficiency solar cells at a low temperature. This unique, single-step fabrication process is expected to have a big impact on the commercial roll-out of CIGS solar cells.


Photovoltaic (PV), a renewable and a sustainable source of energy, is one of the best alternatives to suppress the emission of greenhouse gases and limit global warming. The cost of PV systems is dropping continuously, and their energy generation price is not affected by future fuel price increases. Among different thin-film PV technologies, CIGS solar cell exhibit the highest power conversion efficiency. It is lighter, significantly cheaper to produce, and can be made flexible to use for portable electronics, mobility applications as well as building integration, which is highly relevant in view of the European Strategic Energy Technology plan. To keep pushing prices down and increase efficiency, a novel concept is needed. Low-temperature growth of high-quality CIGS thin-film opens a new frontier of solar business by fabricating solar cells on ultra-light polymeric substrates. However, the main problems that limit the growth of CIGS thin-films at low substrate temperature are poor electronic properties due to incomplete phase transformation and insufficient alkali metals in the absorber layer due to decreased diffusion. In this project, a pulsed hybrid reactive magnetron sputtering process will be developed to obtain a high-efficiency solar cell at low-growth temperature. It is a new, unique, and single-step fabrication process, which will have a high impact on the industrial production of solar cells. Surface stoichiometry and nucleation of anions/cations species at various deposition conditions will be investigated. Furthermore, the atomic mobility of the anions/cations species will be promoted using laser pulses, which enhances the phase transformation resulting in increased crystal growth. To further boost the performance, heavy alkali metals will be incorporated. High-quality results are expected, since the proposal will combine the expertise of the applicant with the knowledge of the host, and the use of unique state-of-the-art fabrication facilities.


Net EU contribution
€ 159 815,04
4715-330 Braga

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Continente Norte Cávado
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 159 815,04