European Commission
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Description of the organisation

EPFL is one of the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology. With the status of a national school since 1969, the young engineering school has grown in many dimensions, to the extent of becoming one of the most famous European institutions of science and technology. Like its sister institution in Zurich, ETHZ, it has three core missions: training, research and technology transfer. Associated with several specialised research institutes, the two Ecoles Polytechniques (Institutes of Technology) form the EPF domain, which is directly dependent of the Federal Department of Home Affairs.
The PV-LAB, one of the laboratories of the Microengineering institute of EPFL, is focusing on the development of thin-film silicon, silicon heterojunction solar and perovskites solar cells and modules as well as thin-film silicon sensors and PV systems. It is also active in the grid integration of PV electricity. PV-LAB is one of the world leaders in thin-film silicon and silicon heterojunction solar cell development.

Main contact

Nicolas Wyrsch

+41 21 69 54357




Role in the Project

The PVLAB of EPFL is active in three work packages. In WP7 (Cell processing of ultrathin wafers) EPFL is contributing to the design of c-Si cell on ultrathin wafers and on the developing of emitter and passivation layers. It is also involved in WP8 (Module development for ultrathin x-Si cells and thin-films) to test and develop cheap and simple encapsulation for thin-film solar cells modules. Special test encapsulation for thin-film modules have been designed the identify failure modes and help designing new solutions. In WP9 (Advanced light management for thin-film PV) it is mainly involved in the development of efficient thin-film Si cells by improving light-trapping scheme. Together with national, EU Fast-Track and Cheetah projects, significant progresses have been obtained on multi-junction thin-film Si cells with the following efficiency values: 13.0% stable on a n-i-p triple (a-Si/µc-Si:H/µc-Si:H) on “flat grating”, 12.6% certified on a stable p-i-n micromorph (a-Si/µc-Si:H) on LPCVD ZnO, 12.8% stable on a (13.7% initial) p-i-n triple (a-Si/µc-Si:H/µc-Si:H) on LPCVD ZnO, and 10.1% initial on a p-i-n quadruple (a-Si/a-SiGe:H/µc-Si:H/µc-Si:H) on LPCVD ZnO. Development of heterocontact and light-trapping scheme for thin-film c-Si cells (in collaboration with HZB and Jülich) and on the relevant contact scheme (joint work with WP8) will be our next focus.


Key people involved

Dr. Nicolas Wyrsch graduated at ETH Zurich, Institute for solid-state physics, Switzerland, in 1984 and received his Ph.D. at the Institute of Microtechnology of the University of Neuchâtel in 1991. He is currently leading the thin-film electronics activity of the laboratory, focusing on sensors development and energy scavenging using photovoltaic devices as well as grid integration of PV systems. He was involved in several EU projects as the PVLAB responsible, including in the ATHLET project as sub-project leader.



Dr Fanny Sculati-Meillaud got her PhD from the University of Neuchâtel in 2006. From end of 2007 she has been leading part of the research on thin film silicon solar cells on glass in the PVLAB, more particularly focusing on microcrystalline silicon. She possesses a strong experience in PECVD as well as characterization and was involved in the EU projects ATHLET and Pepper. She is now in charge of solar module development and reliability issues.



Dr. Stefaan De Wolf got his PhD degree from Catholic University of Leuven (2005). From 1998 until 2005, he worked at IMEC, Belgium, mainly on novel surface passivation for crystalline silicon solar cells. From 2005 until 2008, he studied silicon heterojunction devices at AIST in Tsukuba, Japan. In 2008, he joined the PV-Lab in Neuchâtel to lead its heterojunction activities. He is/was involved in the EU project HetSi and 20plus.




Franz-Josef Haug studied between 1990 and 1996 at the Universities of Ulm (Germany) and Waikato (New Zealand) specializing mostly on theoretical physics. He graduated in Experimental Physics at the Universities of Ulm and got his PhD at the ETH Zürich (Switzerland) in 2001. He worked on Cu(In,Ga)Se2 solar cells, plasma processes for hard coatings of TiN and later on surface modifications for solar cell front contacts based on ZnO. Since 2005, he leads the research group working on flexible and thin-film solar cells at PV-LAB in Neuchatel focusing on light-trapping aspects and is now in charge of the research on passivating contacts.



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