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Young Researcher Award ICANS 26

The poster by Félix Urbain „High performance photoelectrochemical devices based on multijunction thin film silicon solar cells“ was awarded with the „Young Researcher Award” on the „26th International Conference on Amorphous and Nanocrystalline Semiconductors (ICANS 26)” in Aachen.

The contribution was concerned with the development and production of specifically adapted multijunction solar cells, made of microcrystalline and amorphous silicon absorber layers for the solar hydrogen production. The solar cells were optimized in terms of photovoltage and photocurrent by varying the process parameters and thickness of the intrinsic absorber layers and by integrating microcrystalline silicon oxide as intermediate reflecting layers to adjust the photocurrents of the individual subcells. It was found that the electronic properties of the individual series-connected subcells can be adjusted to systematically tune the output voltages between 1.9 V and 2.8 V, which allows an efficient and bias-free water splitting process.

For the application in an electrochemical cell, different metal layers were integrated at the solar cell/electrolyte interface to minimize the losses and photocorrosion. These layers were evaluated with respect to their catalytic and stability properties. By this means, we could not only reduce the material and fabrication costs but also significantly increase the overall solar-to-hydrogen efficiency of the integrated photoelectrochemical devices. A record efficiency of 9,5 % was achieved, which outperforms all other silicon based devices, as the former record was 7,8 %. The presented results were recently published in „Energy & Environmental Science“.