News (28-11-2023): NWO Team Science Award for LMPV

foto: Liesbeth Dingemans

NWO Energy Focus Group LMPV
The Light Management in New Photovoltaic Materials (LMPV) program is an Energy Research Focus group established by the Dutch Research Council NWO (FOM) in 2012. LMPV is a research center within the NWO-Institute AMOLF, a national research laboratory funded by NWO, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The LMPV program is carried out by five group leaders: Prof. Dr. Erik Garnett, Prof. Dr. Bruno Ehrler, Prof. Dr. Esther Alarcón Lladó, Dr. Wiebke Albrecht, and Prof. Dr. Albert Polman (program director).

Research goal To develop fundamental understanding of photovoltaic (nano)materials that enable new or improved photovoltaic and related energy conversion concepts and translate these insight to industrial users in energy technology in order to speed up the energy transition. Our research has spin-offs in fundamental nanophotonics, device physics, electrochemistry, and many aspects of physics and chemistry beyond photovoltaics. 

LMPV Activities

  1. Knowledge development in PV and related fields
  2. Securing funding for LMPV projects and staff and for the broader PV ecosystem
  3. Building and maintaining an ecosystem of partners in PV and materials research

Impact goals

  • Speed up the energy transition
  • Strengthen the NL economy
  • Make the PV chain more sustainable
  • Strengthen scientific position of NL

Overarching PV research goals

  • How to create high-efficiency flexible roll-to-roll perovskite solar foils
  • How to create efficient perovskite-silicon tandem solar cells
  • How to create alternative future PV materials and solar cell designs

Impact pathways and achievements so far (2023)

1. Develop PV cells, applications and fabrication tools: Results starting to be considered by PV industry, potential impact in PV > 2025. Demonstration of world-record PV solar cell efficiency (36.1%) for silicon-based multijunction solar cells (with Fraunhofer ISE).

2. Develop novel imaging technologies: Developed analytical electron microscopy demonstrators: time-resolved cathodoluminescence spectroscopy, ultrafast SEM, electron black scatter spectroscopy (EBSD). Products developed by Delmic, ThermoFisher, and ASI added 23 M€ to the NL economy so far.

3. Networks that develop into Dutch and EU ecosystems and value chains. LMPV (co-)initiated
SolarLab national PV network of all PV groups at academic institutions and TNO
– Route “Materials – made in Holland” of the National Science Agenda
– National Growth Fund application Sustainable MaterialsNL (total M€ 640 subsidy awarded for circular plastics, batteries and sustainable steel)
– National Growth Fund application SolarNL: Circular integrated high-efficiency solar panels (312 M€ subsidy awarded, total program 898 M€)
– International academic research collaborations (funded programs, 2023): Cambridge University, Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Research, Caltech California, CNRS Paris, CUNY New York, Duke University Durham, EPFL Lausanne, Harvard University, ICFO Barcelona, Kiel University, Stanford University, University of Antwerp, University of Göttingen, University of Pennsylvania, UNSW Sydney, ICN2 Barcelona, Lund University, Jena University.

4. Develop innovation infrastructure for LMPV and ecosystem partners: Built state-of-the art lab infrastructure that is being used by partners and in research with industrial partners. Funded research contracts with (2023): Amsterdam Scientific Instruments, ASML, BASF, Delmic, DENS Solutions, EDAX, ExxonMobil, HyET Solar, Nanonics Imaging, Roland Berger, SALDtech, SCIL Imprint Solutions, Seaborough, Shell, ThermoFisher, Toyota Motor Europe, VDL, WITec.

5. Talent finding employment in Dutch PV ecosystem and broader high-tech/sustainability ecosystem:Trained >160 PhD students, postdocs and master’s students; 50% of the former LMPV PhD students and postdocs works in the sustainability field; Net influx of scientists from abroad that stayed in NL to start highly-skilled jobs added 3.1 M€ to the economy so far.

6. Disseminate high-level scientific insights: 
– >270 peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals
– >50% in high-impact journal (impact factor  >10)
– citation impact of PV papers: 3.29 times world average
– 23 PhD theses (+20 underway)
– Lifted the Netherlands from 13th to 9th place in worldwide PV citation impact ranking

Awards for group leaders ENI Renewable Energy Prize, MRS Innovation Award, NNV Physica Prize, EPS Science of light Award, Julius Springer Award, Rising Star Award, Minerva Prize, KNCV Gold Medal, NNV diversity award for AMOLF.

Diversity in LMPV staff (PhD and postdocs)  Gender: 50%/50% female/male ratio (2022); International: 33% Dutch and 67% from 19 different countries worldwide of which 33% from non-Western countries (present and past). See our diversity page.

Academic affiliations and PV teaching  Professorships: Polman (UvA), Garnett (UvA), Ehrler (RUG), Alarcon Llado (UvA); PV teaching: PV class in the AMEP master of the UvA and master of the RUG; various guest lectures.

Outreach  “Voor niets gaat de zon op”, lecture theatre performance at many Dutch public theaters and abroad; Solar panel test field at Amsterdam Science Park; Many appearances on radio, tv, internet, twitter, etc.

Materials research goals (examples):

  • Can we assemble single-crystalline perovskite nanocubes into monocrystalline sheets?
  • How does ion migration affect the efficiency of perovskite solar cells?
  • How to grow high-quality III-V semiconductor nanostructures using nanoelectrochemistry?
  • How to create efficient upconversion for PV energy conversion?
  • What is the best light scattering backreflector nanodesign for tandem solar cells?

Answering these questions requires synthesis and development of entirely new PV materials and solar cell architectures. It requires fundamental research on hybridizing strategies combining concepts from dielectric and plasmonic metasurfaces and metamaterials, with the management of light on length scales from the molecular scale to that of a solar panel. Our work also involves harnessing extreme materials properties to reach the limits of what is possible under reciprocity and thermodynamics. The LMPV program’s primary goal is to achieve fundamental understanding of basic physical phenomena that are relevant for future application in photovoltaics. Demonstrator devices are made either at AMOLF or with external collaborators.

LMPV group leaders:
Albert Polman, Wiebke Albrecht, Esther Alarcón Lladó, Erik Garnett, and Bruno Ehrler (photo Liesbeth Dingemans)