17.03.2017

Dr. Antonio Abate sets up a new Helmholtz Young Investigator Group to improve life span of perovskite solar cells

Dr. Antonio Abate

Dr. Antonio Abate sets up a Helmholtz Young Investigator Group at Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin and moved to Berlin a few days ago. His aim: He wants to improve Perovskite solar cells which are one of the most promising material classes to be discovered in the last few years. The scientist will study the materials and interfaces of perovskite solar cells in order to improve their long-term stability.

Antonio Abate came out on top in a highly competitive selection process of the Helmholtz Association and will now receive 300,000 euros per year in funding over a period of five years. He researched, among other places, at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge in England. He then received a Marie-Skłodowska-Curie grant to work at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland. He currently heads the photovoltaic activities at the Adolphe Merkle Institute of the University of Fribourg, Switzerland.

Aims of the Young Investigator Group “Active Materials and Interfaces for Stable Perovskite Solar Cells”

The photovoltaics industry has always been dominated by silicon-based solar cells. Originally expensive to make, production costs steadily dropped over time to the point where, now, there are practically no savings potentials left in the manufacturing processes for this technology. Accordingly, we need a new generation of cheap and efficient solar cells. Perovskite solar cells are especially promising. Their efficiency has increased very rapidly in recent years. The long-term stability of these cells is crucial for their economic viability, and yet this criterion is still barely studied. Antonio Abate’s goal is now to develop stable perovskite solar cells with an operating life exceeding 25 years.

"To achieve this goal, I want to improve our understanding of the optoelectronic mechanisms responsible for the degradation of material inside perovskite solar cells. I am researching both the fundamental principles and the processing of these solar cells in order to actively control the interfaces between the various layers", said the scientist. Antonio Abate is looking to cooperate with internationally leading research groups and industrial partners from the electronics industry to ensure the development of this technology is genuinely promoted – from materials and components to full PV systems.

About the “Helmholtz Young Investigators” programme

The research programme fosters highly qualified young researchers who completed their doctorate three to six years ago. The heads of the Young Investigator Groups receive support through a tailored training and mentoring programme. The aim of the programme is to strengthen the networking of Helmholtz centres and universities, too. More

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