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Celebrating 10 years Laboratory for Photovoltaics

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Published on Monday, 15 May 2017

On 5 May 2017, solar energy took the centre stage during the celebration of a decade of research successes and positive impacts in photovoltaics and semiconductor physics at the University of Luxembourg. More than 120 participants from academia, industry, public institutions attended this festive event on Belval campus.   

Inaugurated in 2007 by Professor Susanne Siebentritt in the framework of the TDK Europe Chair, the Laboratory for photovoltaics (LPV) has grown rapidly and is now recognised internationally in the field of thin film solar cells with more than 170 peer-reviewed publications, 3500 independent citations, deposit of 7 patents and nearly 7 million € in external funding.

“Based on semiconductor materials, solar cells convert sun light directly into electricity, without moving parts, without any emission. Within our laboratory, we are working on thin film solar cells that use less energy than conventional solar cells. We are studying their basic semiconductor physics to understand the behaviour of materials and devices”, explains Prof. Siebentritt.

To mark this anniversary, a scientific symposium followed by a public lecture and a night of festivities were organised all day long. Prof. Tonie Van Dam, Vice-President for Doctoral Education and Training, Gender, and International Relations at the University of Luxembourg warmly welcomed all the participants and congratulated all those who helped to achieve this success story. She mentioned that the success of the laboratory and of the physics research unit in general has led to defining physics and materials as a priority for the university.

Prof. Susanne Siebentritt, Head of the Laboratory for Photovoltaics, and Prof. Phillip Dale, Head of the Laboratory for Energy Materials at the University of Luxembourg presented the history, development and activities of the laboratory. They highlighted their success recipe, which was based on talented people, state of the art equipment and innovative ideas. With great emotion, Prof. Siebentritt thanked all current and former members of her team who came specially to celebrate this decade.   

To broaden the discussion, Prof. Ludger Wirtz, Head of the Physics and Materials Science Research Unit (PHYMS) at the University of Luxembourg, highlighted all the research activities done in physics and materials science. With 10 research groups, 89 members, 3 ERC grant holders and 5 ATTRACT fellows, the research unit has rapidly managed to develop innovative projects, attract high-level researchers from around the world, receive significant funding and achieve outstanding results.

Then, Prof. Daniel Lincot, Director of the Institut de Recherche et Développement sur l'Energie Photovoltaïque (IRDEP), and the Institut Photovoltaïque Ile de France (IPVF) focused on the tremendous potential of solar cells for the market.

From a political viewpoint, Claude Turmes, Member and Spokesperson for Energy Policy of the Greens in the European Parliament, underlined the importance not only to invest in research and innovation but also to have a strong industrial policy strategy on renewable energies in Europe.

In addition, Henri Kox, President of Eurosolar Lëtzebuerg, and member of the Luxembourgish parliament, pointed out the challenges and opportunities for solar energy in Luxembourg in order to reach the target of 100% for renewable energies in 2050.

Prof. Paul Heuschling, Dean of the Faculty of Science, Technology and Communication (FSTC) at the University of Luxembourg concluded the lecture by expressing with proudness the great achievements in physics and materials science carried out so far.

He also mentioned the very promising future with the upcoming move of all physicists to the new building “Aile Nord Aile Sud”.

More information: https://10yearsphotovoltaics.uni.lu