We explore new processes and solar cell technologies from basic research to industrial applications, device and module characterization & simulation, and materials research.

Silicon solar cell and module technology

Silicon modules comprise 95% of the world market. This market is likely to grow to over A$1trillion in the coming decade. Our research focuses on the design, fabrication and optimisation of high-efficiency silicon solar cells. Guided by advanced simulation and characterisation, our world-class clean-room facilities enable us to make very high efficiency silicon solar cells (up to 25%), from the bare starting wafer through to finished cells and modules. We explore advanced architectures for both p- and n-type silicon solar cells, such as bifacial and inter-digitated back-contact cells, and new approaches for surface passivation, electrical contacting and light management, including poly-silicon and dopant-free contacting schemes. We also design and fabricate customised silicon solar cells as bottom cells in tandem devices, such as silicon-perovskite tandems.

Characterisation and simulation

A wide range of advanced electrical and optical characterisation techniques are available in our laboratories. These techniques provide important insights into the performance and operation of solar cells and modules, as well as the physical, electrical and optical properties of the materials used in their production. Comparison with modelled predictions can identify defects and opportunities to improve efficiency. We use advanced 3D simulation programs, such as Sentaurus Device, Quokka3, and SunSolve, as well as in-house developed tools for cell-to-module (CTM) and cell-to-module-yield (CTMY) analysis and full-size PV system raytracing.

Materials Research

We study the fundamental properties of crystalline silicon for solar cells, including the impact of common and emerging defects and impurities (such as transition metals and oxygen-related defects), and how they can be removed or passivated. Even in modern mono-crystalline silicon wafers, such defects can cause significant losses and degradation, especially for high efficiency cell designs that are very sensitive to the wafer quality. We also study new materials for surface passivation layers and electrical contacts for silicon solar cells.