Emerging solar cell materials

Project Title Emerging solar cell materials
Project Leader Prof. Clas Persson, University of Oslo
Research Field Chemical Sciences and Materials
Resource Awarded 15 994 400 core-hours
Computer System MareNostrum, BSC Spain
Partner Institutions Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin – DE
University of Oslo – NO 
Royal Institute of Technology – SE 
University College London (UCL) – UK


The reducing oil resources and increasing global energy consumption make the development of sustainable energy systems one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century. Taking into account a global interest in the reduction of CO2 level, the development of solar cells is one of the main research priorities. Today, photovoltaics (PV) generate roughly 0.14 TW, which is only about 0.8% of the total energy consumption (~17 TW). To increase the PV capacity to large extent, large area solar cell coverage is needed. This also requires the development of emerging solar cell materials, having high efficiency, low cost, and good long-term stability.

In this project, we focus on the further understanding and development of thin film solar cell materials. Since the research groups together involves relatively many researchers, we define and form a project with two connected work packages (WPs):

WP1 Explore various high-absorbing Cu-based chalcogenides in order to search for alternative environmentally friendly compounds, with potentially advantageous materials properties. WP2 Explore the properties of organic/inorganic hybrid systems and understand the potential of hybrid materials in solar cell application. The first principles studies of such materials require the calculations for systems containing more than 100 atoms as well as the modelling of complex structures (defect complexes, amorphous solids, etc.).

Moreover, since traditional density functional theory (DFT) calculations cannot describe band structures of the materials accurately, we will use hybrid functional and GW calculations. In this project, the combinations of different first principles methods as well as our coding and method development experience will allow us to perform a detailed study of emerging solar cell materials.