Pre-Project: ZnO thin films for Advanced Photovoltaics

This pre-project focuses on establishing a scientific collaboration within the field
of solar energy between the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras (IITM) India, and the Institute For Energy technology (IFE) and the University of Oslo (UiO) in Norway. Solar energy is clean energy, that may replace other energy sources. This in
turn may result in less pollution.
Thin film photovoltaics (PV) have a high potential to achieve high efficiencies as well as low cost factors. The technology developed today requires transparent conducting oxides (TCO). Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) is currently being used, but due to the high cost, limited supply as well as other material factors, finding an alternative is essential. Using zinc oxide (ZnO) as active and passive layers in solar cells can increase the efficiency of a solar cell without
decreasing the total cost, since ZnO is a relatively inexpensive source material compared to ITO. It is therefore important to study the material properties of ZnO in order to implement this in a solar cell device. An increased research effort in this
area may also contribute to the solar cell industry in Norway, thereby resulting in an
increase in available jobs. This will also have a positive effect on the social
development. We will therefore arrange two workshops (one in India and one
in Norway) during this collaboration. At this workshop will both past and present research will be discussed, as well as planning a larger project proposal, thereby
aiming for a long term collaboration between the two countries. Arranging workshops to discuss these important issues is crucial for the communication in a bilateral scientific team.


People involved in the project

Institute For Energy Technology (IFE): Annett Thøgersen (and SINTEF), Chang Chuan You, and Smagul Karazhanov
University of Oslo (UiO): Ramon Schifano
Indian Institute of technology in Madras (IITM): A. Subrahmanyam

Publications and Presentations from the Project

  • Annett Thøgersen, Chang Chuan You, Smagul Karazhanov and A. Subrahmanyam. A detailed study of the material properties of ZnO:Al:H thin films on glass and doped Si substrates. European Material Research Society (EMRS) Conference, 2011.


  • Annett Thøgersen, Chang Chuan You, Smagul Karazhanov, and A. Subrahmanyam. A detailed study of the material properties of ZnO:Al thin films on doped Si substrates. Will be submitted January 2012.


  • February 2011: Invited speaker at the “International conference and workshop on new materials and devices for photovoltaic applications” in Madurai, India, with the talks:


  1. Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) and X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) used for characterizing the material properties of solar cells.
  2. The material properties of silver nanoparticles, and their use in solar cells.
  3. The material properties of Transparent Conducting Oxides (TCO), and their effect upon the solar cell device properties.