Earth Abundant Materials based Monolithic Photovoltaic-Photo-electrochemical Device toward 15 percent Solar-to-Hydrogen Conversion Efficiencies

The LIMIET project  is a collaborative project with the TU Delft, TU of Eindhoven and TNO/Solliance (where the PV solar cells are fabricated). The objective of the project is to maintain high-efficient copper-indium-gallium-selenide (CIGS) solar cells, while strongly reducing the thickness of the absorber layer, from a 2 micrometer to below 500 nanometer.

Focus points are changing materials/ interfaces to reduce parasitic losses at the back contact (primarily with atomic layer deposition at TU of Eindhoven) and using advanced light management techniques to reduce losses in the front of the solar cell (by texturing and fabrication of multi-junction devices, primarily at TU Delft).

Research objective

This PhD is focused on the design of the absorber of the water splitting device. The materials used are mainly amorphous silicon carbide (a-SiC), amorphous silicon (a-Si), nanocrystalline silicon (nc-Si) and crystalline silicon (c-Si). The deposition and treatment conditions of these materials are varied, as well the ones of the supporting layers, in order to optimize the device. Also the interaction with protective layers, catalyst, electrolyte and counter electrode are taken into account towards the building of a device. 

In addition, this PEC/PV approach can also be considered for wastewater treatment. Organic contaminants can be treated by electro-oxidation, which is basically to decompose them by applying a voltage and creating OH radicals. To be able to do so with solar light, a BiVO4 photoanode is considered for oxidation, combined with a solar cell that matches that transmitted spectrum. 


  • A thin-film silicon / silicon hetero-junction hybrid solar cell for photoelectrochemical water-reduction applications Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells
    Ravi Vasudevan, Zaid Thanawala, Lihao Han, Thom Buijs, Hairen Tan, Dimitrios Deligiannis, Paula Perez-Rodriguez, Ibadillah A. Digdaya, Wilson A. Smith,
    Miro Zeman, Arno H.M. Smets, SOLMAT 150 (2016) 82-87

  • Engineering the kinetic and interfacial energetics of Ni/Ni-Mo catalyzed amorphous silicon carbide photocathodes in alkaline media
    Ibadillah A. Digdaya, Paula Perez Rodriguez, Ming Ma, Gede W. P. Adhyaksa, Erik C. Garnett, Arno H. M. Smets  and Wilson A. Smith
    J. Mater. Chem A (2016)  






People involved: Prof. dr. Arno Smets, Paula Perez Rodriguez (PhD candidate), Sharat Sreekantan, Mathew Alani, Andrea Mangel Raventos, Michael Falkenberg