Energy Material Research

Energy materials refers to more than just solar cells that produce electricity from sunlight. Based on its existing competences, HZB has defined a whole series of material systems to include in its future research portfolio. Solar fuels, thermoelectric materials and topological insulators are just a few of them. These are materials that store or convert energy, or which can be used to develop new and energy-efficient information technology.

The recurring theme in HZB’s research is thin-film technology. We are forever expanding our expertise in existing thin-film photovoltaic systems, enriching our research with a wide range of analytical methods, on the large facilities especially, and with material synthesis and theory-based simulations.

Efficiency record for artificial photosynthesis

Water splitting in a tandem solar cell

With participation of the HZB, an international team has succeeded in considerably increasing the efficiency for direct solar water splitting for the first time since 17 years. The researchers were using a tandem solar cell whose surfaces had been selectively modified.

HEMF: New Helmholtz laboratory infrastructure

em-Energy Materials In situ Laboratory (EMIL) at BESSY II

The “Helmholtz Energy Materials Foundry (HEMF)” is conceived as a cross-centre Helmholtz research infrastructure and a dedicated international user platform in the field of energy research. HEMF’s scientific focus is on solar fuels, solar cells, fuel cells, battery systems, and thermoelectric and thermochemical materials. The six centres involved in the project in the Helmholtz Association’s Energy research field are FZJ, HZB, HZG, HZDR, KIT and DLR. HZB is responsible for their coordination. The project has a total volume of 35.4 million euros.

New class of materials for organic electronics

Electron-hole pair

A cooperative between researchers of HZB, the University of Rostock, Freie Universität Berlin and other partners has figured out how charge transport works in polymeric carbon nitrides. These could make lowcost photocatalysts that promote the splitting of water with sunlight.