EMPA achieves new efficiency record of 20.8 percent for flexible thin-film solar cells

Scientists at Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research (EMPA) achieved an efficiency record of 20.8 percent for CIGS solar cells on flexible polymer substrate. The Empa Laboratory for Thin Films and Photovoltaics, headed by Ayodhya N. Tiwari, has thus surpassed its own record by 0.4 percent, says the Institute.
The new record is the result of a combination of three major improvements, explains Romain Carron, head of CIGS research at Empa's laboratory. »First, we have carefully adjusted the chemical composition of the absorber layer to improve its electronic and optical properties. Then we developed new methods for alkali metal doping. And finally, we have adapted the properties of the absorber-buffer interface to improve cell performance.«
Flexible CIGS solar modules are already commercially available, in particular from the Empa spin-off Flisom, which was co-founded by Tiwari.
The scientific findings are described in the special issue »Excellence in Energy« of the journal »Advanced Energy Materials« (DOI: 10.1002/aenm.201900408).

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