In this effort, the research team at HNEI aims to reduce the manufacturing costs of current (CIGS) and emerging (CZTS) solar cells. Chalcogenide thin films are conventionally fabricated using vacuum-based deposition processes, where “vapors” of elements condense on a substrate to form a thin film. Vacuum chambers are complicated to operate and must be taken offline on a regular basis for maintenance. In this project, the HNEI team aims to synthetize chalcogenide thin film materials using printing techniques, where inks containing chalcogenide nanoparticles are printed on a substrate and annealed to form dense polycrystalline solar absorbers comparable to those obtained with vacuum-based processes. If successful, this approach could significantly lower energy payback time of chalcogenide-based PV technologies.

Point Person: Nicolas Gaillard