The Light Management in New Photovoltaic Materials (LMPV) program is a research center of NWO-Institute AMOLF, a national research laboratory funded by the Dutch Research Counsel (NWO), in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Strategic goal  Established by FOM/NWO as an initiative to establish energy research focus centers with a lasting impact in the Dutch research landscape.

Research program  The goal of the NWO Energy Focus Group LMPV is to develop fundamental understanding of the interaction of light with photovoltaic nanomaterials, and apply this knowledge to realize photovoltaic and related energy conversion concepts that surpass existing technology. Our research has spin-offs in fundamental nanophotonics, device physics, electrochemistry, and many aspects of physics and chemistry beyond photovoltaics.

Group leaders  Hired four (tenure-track) group leaders: Prof. Dr. Erik Garnett (2012), Prof. Dr. Bruno Ehrler (2014), Dr. Esther Alarcon Llado (2016), Dr. Wiebke Albrecht (2021). Program leader: Prof. Dr. Albert Polman

Present LMPV staff  Total 50: 30 PhD/postdoc, 5 group leaders, 5 technicians, 10 master’s students

Budget  Original LMPV grant by FOM/NWO: 5.4 M€ (2011); Additional funding raised through external grants: 30.7 M€ (2011-2022)

Trained staff since 2012  >100 PhD students, postdocs and master’s students; 50% of the former LMPV PhD students and postdocs works in the sustainability field; Created net influx of 11 scientists from abroad that stayed in NL to start highly-skilled jobs

Publications since 2012  >200 peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals; >50% in high-impact journal (impact factor  >10); Citation impact of PV papers: 3.29 times world average; 22 PhD theses (+20 underway), 60 masters and bachelors theses, patent applications

ERC grants  2 ERC Starting Grants, 1 ERC Consolidator Grant, 3 ERC Advanced Grants

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

National coordination  LMPV initiated the SOLARLab national PV network of all PV groups at academic institutions and TNO: AMOLF, RUG, RUN, TUD, TUE, UU, UvA, VU (total: 55 PIs); LMPV co-initiated the Nationaal Groeifonds application Duurzame MaterialenNL (2022) and coordinated the Energy Materials Theme; LMPV co-initiated the route “Materials – made in Holland” for the National Science Agenda; LMPV coordinated the incorporation of PV on the NWO Roadmap for Large-scale Research Infrafrastructure.

International academic research collaborations (situation 2022; funded programs). 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.

Industrial research collaborations (situation 2022; funded contracts)  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

(Inter-)national workshops and conferences organized  Annual LMPV workshop with international keynote speakers (2014-2022), MRS (2022), EBSN (2014, 2017, 2019, 2021), OSA (2012), Dutch Scanning Probe (2019), Ionics and Iontronics (2021), nanoGe (2020)

Startups, commercial products  LMPV co-founded the startup Delmic that sells instruments for correlative microscopy and now has 40 employees. ThermoFisher Scientific sells time-resolved electron microscopes based on a joint project with LMPV. EDAX sells electron backscatter diffraction detectors based on a joint project with LMPV.

Diversity in LMPV staff (PhD and postdocs)  Gender: 50%/50% female/male ratio (2022); International: 33% Dutch and 67% from 17 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); PV teaching: PV class in the AMEP master of the UvA, SFES master of the VU, 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.

Overarching PV 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

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 III-V/Si 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: Esther Alarcón Lladó, Wiebke Albrecht, Albert Polman, Bruno Ehrler and Erik Garnett