Thin film solar cells based on zinc oxide layers was fabricated by International students of MERC. In this project, Stefan Richter and Nicolai Lorenz-Meyer from Germany have collaborated in semiconductor fabrication laboratory of MERC.
The fabricated solar cells were based on sputtered ZnO thin film as n-type semiconductor material. A thin-film solar cell is a second generation solar cell that is made by depositing one or more thin layers, or thin film (TF) of photovoltaic material on a substrate, such as glass, plastic or metal. Thin-film solar cells are commercially used in several technologies. Thin-film technologies reduce the amount of active material in a cell. Thus, thin-film solar cells have always been cheaper but less efficient than conventional crystalline Si based solar cells. However, they significantly improved over the years.
Zinc oxide (ZnO) is a transparent conducting oxide (TCO) material, which has recently been studied extensively. It is a II-VI semiconductor, mostly n-type, with a wide band gap of ~3.3 eV, that could be obtained with low resistivity. It is a candidate material for use as a gas sensor, blue light emitting diodes (LEDs), and solar cells.
Based on a contract between MERC and International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE), International students from Germany and Spain worked on different fields of advanced materials and renewable energies in MERC during summer 2015.
IAESTE was founded in 1948 at Imperial College, London. It is an independent, non-profit and non-political student exchange organization. Since 1948, the association has grown to include more than 80 countries world-wide and has exchanged in excess of 300,000 students. This means that yearly IAESTE exchanges around 6000 students playing a key role in the development of technical undergraduates able to make their mark in a global economy.