European Commission
agence de communication Lyon


Description of the organisation

EMPA, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, is an interdisciplinary research and service institution within the ETH Domain. EMPA’s research and development activities are oriented to meeting the requirements of industry and the needs of our society, and link together applications-oriented research and the practical implementation of new ideas, science and industry, and science and society. Established more than 128 years back, EMPA is committed to achieving excellence in its research activities and thereby holds an essential position in the Swiss educational, research and innovation scene. EMPA employs more than 850 staff, of which 230 are female; over 450 employees are engineers and scientists with advanced degrees. “Materials for Energy Technologies” is one of the five strategic research directions at EMPA.
The Laboratory for Thin Films and Photovoltaics at EMPA is known for excellence in the field of CIGS, CdTe, CZTS thin film solar cell research on various substrate materials and the technology transfer to industry. The research and development topics of the lab are directed towards the development of high efficiency thin film solar cells with emphasis on novel concepts for enhancing the performance of solar cells, simplifying the fabrication processes, and advancing device structures for next generation of more efficient and low cost devices.

Main contact

Ayodhya N. Tiwari

+41 58 765 4130




Role in the Project

The EMPA group has more than 20 years of experience in thin film solar cells and is well equipped for R&D on CIGS and CdTe solar cells and mini-modules grown with vacuum and non-vacuum deposition methods. Some of the highlights of the lab’s achievements are: Flexible CIGS and CdTe solar cells with world record efficiencies above 20% and ~14%, respectively; 7.7% efficiency CIGS solar cells with a simple solution based and non-vacuum process that does not involve toxic and hazardous chemical; CZTS-Se solar cells with simple and safe non-vacuum deposition methods; TCO layers by non-vacuum deposition methods; technology transfer and support to industries. In the program, EMPA will mainly participate in CSA activities, focusing on transfer of knowledge and expert groups on thin-films.


Key people involved

Prof. Dr. Ayodhya Nath Tiwari - Head of Laboratory for Thin Films and Photovoltaics, PhD in Physics, > 32 yrs experience of R&D in PV technologies, >180 research publications, >220 Conference presentations/publications; Editorial board member or guest-editor of Journals, Co-organizer or co-chair of several International conferences; PV-Expert delegation member of the European Commission. Management experience: About 40 projects sponsored by the European and national agencies.



Dr. Stephan Buecheler – Group leader of CIGS and CdTe activities at Empa, received his PhD from ETH Zürich in 2010, > 7 yrs experience of R&D in Thin film deposition processes and PV technologies. Experienced scientist in the field of CIGS device processing and analysis.