CNRS/C2N : Photovoltaïque solaire 
Centre de Nanosciences et de Nanotechnologies - Campus de Marcoussis
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Current research for next-generation solar cells is driven by two main challenges: cost reduction and efficiency improvement. We believe that a new impulse for overcoming these two great challenges will be given by plasmonics and nano-photonics, which provide methods for guiding and localizing light at the nanoscale (well below the scale of the wavelength of light in free space).

Using original strategies for light trapping, we demonstrated broadband optical absorption by a multi-resonant mechanism in ultra-thin layers and semiconductor nanowires. Nanophotonics allows us to re-design the architecture of a conventional solar cell to operate in a new regime, reduce the costs of I-II generation solar cells and ultimately to exploit new concepts for the development of III generation solar cells.

Light management in thin-film photovoltaics

The first strategy aims at reducing the cost and material consumption of single-junction solar cells, while keeping good efficiencies (~ 20%). A 10-fold thickness reduction of thin-film semiconductor solar cells leads to a reduction of carrier transit time and spurious recombination processes. As a result, the material quality requirements are relaxed, and thus so is the price. In order to compensate for the minor absorption, we apply original light-trapping schemes based on plasmonics and nanophotonics. The result is an optically thick and electrically thin solar cell. The target is the achievement of 100 nm-thick GaAs and CIGS solar cells, and 2-4 µm-thick c-Si solar cells with competitive manufacturing costs.

Light management in high-efficiency solar cells

The second strategy aims at developing new concepts for high-efficiency thin-film solar cells, with a 2-3 times improvement in the energy conversion efficiency compared to standard single-junction solar cells. We target efficiencies in the 30-50 % range. These efficiencies can already be achieved with multi-junction solar cells, but they involve very complex semiconductor stacks and costly fabrication processes. We explore alternative solutions based on novel concepts, in particular hot-carrier solar cells, intermediate-band solar cells, and up-conversion processes.

Recent achievements:

  • Broadband multi-resonant absorption in 25nm-thick GaAs layers for ultra-thin solar cells
  • Nanopatterned front contact for broadband absorption in ultra-thin amorphous silicon solar cells
  • 10 % efficient ultra-thin CIGS solar cells [collab. IRDEP, ULTRACIS]
  • On-going projects on single-junction solar cells:

  • Ultra-thin solar cells based on III-V semiconductors
  • Ultra-thin solar cells based on CIGS [ANR ULTRACIS]
  • Thin solar cells based on Si grown by low temperature PECVD [ANR NATHISOL]
  • Single-junction solar cells based on nanowires
  • On-going projects on new concepts for high-efficiency solar cells:

  • Hot-carrier solar cells [collab. IRDEP]
  • Intermediate-band solar cells based on III-V quantum dots and quantum wells [collab. IRDEP, RCAST, Politecnico di Milano]
  • Up-conversion
  • Partners:
    We are part of the IPVF through the FedPV and collaborate in particular with the following partners:

  • IRDEP: Jean-François Guillemoles, Negar Naghavi, Daniel Lincot,…
  • LPICM: Pere Roca, Enric Garcia Caurel,…
  • INL: Emmanuel Drouard, Christian Seassal.
  • Laboratoire Photonique, Numérique et Nanosciences (LP2N/IOGS): Philippe Lalanne
  • Laboratoire Charles Fabry (LCF/IOGS): Christophe Sauvan
  • and also LGEP, IPVF, IMN, Total,… through the IPVF program and ULTRACIS-M and NATHISOL contracts.
  • L-NESS Center (Politecnico di Milano): Stefano Sanguinetti
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     Cattoni Andrea  (+33) 1 69 63 60 48  
     Collin Stephane  (+33) 1 69 63 61 45  

    Et aussi...

     Bardou Nathalie  (+33) 1 69 63 61 43  
     Dupuis Christophe  (+33) 1 69 63 61 42  

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    Puce Brevets

    • Cellule photovoltaïque pour application sous flux solaire concentre, M. Paire, D. Lincot, J.-F. Guillemoles, J.-L. Pelouard, S. Collin, FR 1053318, (2010-06-02)
    • Structure nanometrique absorbante de type MIM asymetrique, S. Collin, J.-L. Pelouard, F. Pardo, A.-M. Haghiri-Gosnet, P. Lalanne, C. Sauvan, FR 1053134, (2010-04-23)
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        ULTRACIS : Cellules solaires à haut rendement à base de couches minces ultrafines de diséléniure de cuivre et d'indium

        Référence de contrat : ANR HABISOL
        Responsable(s) C2N : Jean-Luc Pelouard, Stephane Collin
        Principaux objectifs : Étude et réalisation de cellules solaires en couche ultrafine (jusqu'à 100nm) à base de CIGS (2009-2012)

        THRI-PV : Très Haut Rendement et Innovation Photovoltaïque

        Référence de contrat : ANR Habisol
        Responsable(s) C2N : Jean-Luc Pelouard, Stephane Collin
        Principaux objectifs : Développement de nouveaux concepts pour cellules en couche mince à très haut rendement (2006-2010)

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    • Crystalline nanosubstrate for nanowire-based solar cells

    • D. Pelati-(2015-03-02 / 2015-07-31)
      Niveau : Master2
      Thème : Dispositifs Photoniques (PHODEV)
                  Elaboration et Physique des Structures Epitaxiées (ELPHYSE)
      Contact : A. Cattoni , F. Oehler
      Groupe : Dispositifs Photoniques (PHODEV)
                  Elaboration et Physique des Structures Epitaxiées (ELPHYSE)

      En savoir plus
      Sustainable and low-carbon energy technologies will play a crucial role in the energy revolution required to mitigate climate change, and solar photovolatic energy is one of the most promising technologies since it entails no greenhouse gas emissions during operation and it consumes no or little water. In 2013, Si-wafer based PV technology accounted for about 90% of the total production with average efficiency of commercial modules of about 16% (record lab at 25%). At the same time, record efficiency for single-junction solar cell was obtained by thin-film GaAs solar cells (28,8% by Alta Device), but the prohibitive costs of the substrates limits the diffusion of such technology. Nanowires based solar cells are a promising alternative to planar devices especially for the development of III-V semiconductor based solar cells. The advantages of using nanowires are multiple, from their intrinsic light trapping properties to the short carrier collection paths that reduce parasitic resistance and recombinations. Also, due to the accommodation of strain by elastic relaxation, nanowires can be epitaxially grown on lattice-mismatched substrates. By using this property, we recently demonstrate the vertical self-catalyzed molecular beam epitaxy growth of GaAs nanowires on an amorphous substrate by using a smooth [111] fiber-textured Silicon thin film with very large grains. The [111] fiber-textured Silicon on glass was realized by low temperature crystallization of amorphous Silicon using the so called aluminum-induced crystallization method. This generic platform paves the way to the use of inexpensive substrates for the fabrication of dense ensembles of vertically standing nanowires with promising perspectives for the realization of high efficency and low-cost solar cells. The goal of this internship is to further extend this technology by realizing ordered array of crystalline nano-substrates of Germanium on glass as a platform for the epitaxial growth of ordered array of GaAs nanowires. The candidate will carry out the fabrication and the characterization of crystalline Germanium nano-substrates. The first task will be to optimize the aluminum-induced crystallization of planar Germanium films, in order to reduce the crystallization temperature and reduce the roughness of the micrometric Ge(111) grains. Subsequently, in combination with Nanoimprint lithography the candidate will fabricated ordered array of crystalline nano-substrates of Germanium for the growth of ordered array of GaAs nanowires (one nano-substrate for nanowire). The geometry of the array will be chosen in order to optimize the light trapping absorption. For this pourpose, the candidate will be also involed in the optimization by numeric simulation of the GaAs nanowires absorption.
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