Invited Speakers

/Invited Speakers
Invited Speakers 2019-05-09T09:05:48+00:00


Martin Andritschky

Physics Department of the University of Minho

Martin Andritschky studied Mechanical Engineering in Aachen, Germany where he also received his PhD. After a 2 y fellowship at the LEP Vacuum Group at CERN, he joined in 1989 the Physics Department of the University of Minho. The research activities at the Physics Department focus during almost 30 y on the development of functional coatings by Physical and Chemical Vapour Deposition and the development of the respective industrial processes. During two leaves from the University of Minho, he participated as Technical Director in the foundation of two start-up companies in the US and Finland. The second company, Savosolar Oyi in Mikkeli, actuates in the production of large scale solar thermal collectors and the installation of those in solar collector fields for district heating applications. Within this work a very efficient solar thermal absorber concept, based on a directly cooled PVD coated absorber, was developed and introduced into the market.

Most publications of Martin Andritschky are related to PVD coatings. The patented PVD-coating solutions include low reflectivity – high abrasion resistant coatings, solar thermal absorber coatings, low friction DLC coatings and protective coatings for solar oxygen fuel cell components.

Solar Thermal Collectors for large area applications

Martin Andritschky

Physics Center, University of Minho

Solar Thermal collectors show the highest efficiencies in harvesting solar radiation. The present work reviews the development from nano-scaled PVD coatings to the properties of a large area collector with special focus on collector efficiency and respective costs. Collector efficiency is determined by optical properties (glass, PVD coating, aperture), thermal conduction (absorber design) and thermal losses (insulation, temperature distribution, connection tubing). Other than in residential applications, district heating monitor closely the collector efficiency and make it part of the contractual binding. Additionally, any long-term efficiency losses are immediately noted.

Direct cooling (as shown in the picture), overall coating of the entire absorber with a high efficient PVD coating guaranteeing optical properties over the entire lifespan of the collector.

Fig 1: X-section of an extruded absorber profile with direct cooling.

Fig.: X-section of a multi-layered PVD / PECVD optical absorber coating.


The author acknowledges the support by Savosolar Oyj

Ib Chorkendorff

SurfCat, Department of Physics, Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

Ib Chorkendorff is Professor in Heterogeneous Catalysis at the Technical University of Denmark. He got his PhD in 1985 in experimental surface science from Odense University, Denmark. After working as a postdoc with Prof. John T. Yates Jr. at University of Pittsburgh, USA, he was employed in 1987 as Associate Professor at DTU to establish an experimental activity investigating fundamental aspects of heterogeneous catalysis. He became full Professor of Heterogeneous Catalysis at Department of Physics and Department of Chemical Engineering in 1999 and was Director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Interdisciplinary Catalysis (ICAT) 1998-2005. From 2005-2016 he was director of Danish National Research Foundation Center for Individual Nanoparticle Functionality (CINF) at Department of physics at DTU. From 2016 he has been Director of The Villum Center for the Science of Sustainable Fuels and Chemicals (V-SUSTAIN). He has author or coauthored more than 320 scientific papers,17 patents and a textbook “Concepts of Modern Catalysis and Kinetics”. His research activities focus on investigating fundamental aspects of surface reactions and finding new catalysts for improving energy production/conversion and environmental protection. He is co-founder of three start-up companies RENCAT APS, HPNOW APS and Spectroinlets APS.

In this presentation, I will give an overview of some our recent progress in making nanoparticles alloys and intermetallic compounds for catalysis, particularly in relation to conversion of sustainable energy [1]. We shall demonstrate how mass-selected nanoparticles synthesized, can be used to elucidate the activity for processes related to electrolysis and the reversible process in fuel cells. In the first case it will be used to elucidate size dependence and efficiency for catalysts related to the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) which is the limiting reaction and evaluate the scalability of scarce and expensive elements like Platinum and Ruthenium [2, 3]. Size dependence and isotope labelled experiments will be presented for NiFe nanoparticles for oxygen evolution under alkaline conditions [4]. Here we shall demonstrate a new principle for dynamic detection of gas evolution [5] allowing for a clear distinction between redox states and actual OER [6]. We could instead of producing hydrogen use the electrochemical cell to hydrogenate CO, CO2 and N2. Both would be routes to for synthesizing base chemicals and fuels in general. Detailed investigations of ethanol synthesis on oxygen derived Cu found by Kanan et al. [7] shall be discussed and we shall demonstrate show how aldehydes seem to be an important intermediate [8, 9] albeit often overlooked. Also, we shall discuss the nature of the sites responsible for the ethanol production under strong alkaline conditions [10]. New methods for detecting volatile products using a “Sniffer” setup will also be discussed [5] and it will be demonstrated how this principle can be used to study the dynamics of methane and ethylene production on mass-selected Copper nanoparticles [11]. If time allows the synthesis of ammonia which is an extremely important chemical and also a potential energy carrier will be discussed.


[1]   Z. W Seh, …, I. Chorkendorff, J. K. Nørskov, T. F. Jaramillo, Science (2017) 355.

[2]   E. Kemppainen, .. I. Chorkendorff, Energy & Environmental Science, 8 (2015) 2991.

[3]   E. A. Paoli, F. … I. E.L Stephens, I. Chorkendorff, Chemical Science, 6 (2015) 190.

[4]   C. Roy, …J. Kibsgaard, I. E. L. Stephens, and I. Chorkendorff; Accepted Nature Catalysis (2018).

[5]   D. T. Bøndergaard, .. I Chorkendorff…, Electrochem. Acta 268 (2018) 520.

[6]   J. Kibsgaard and I. Chorkendorff, submitted (2018)

[7]   A. Verdaguer-Casadevall et al.  J. Am. Chem. Soc. 137  9808 (2015)

[8]   E. Bertheussen et al. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.  55 1450 (2016)

[9]   E. Bertheussen et al. Catal. Today  288 (2017) 54-62.

[10] E. Bertheussen et al. ACS Energy Lett. 3 (2018) 634–640.

[11] S. B. Scott et al. Submitted (2018).

Pau Farràs

Inorganic Chemistry at NUI Galway

Leading SEAFUEL, an INTERREG Atlantic Area project

Dr Pau Farràs received his BSc in Chemical Engineering from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. In 2009, he obtained the PhD in Chemistry at the Materials Science Institute of Barcelona under the supervision of Prof Teixidor. After two postdoctoral positions at the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (Prof Llobet) and Newcastle University (Newton Fellow, Prof Benniston), he moved in September 2015 to Galway with a lectureship position in Inorganic Chemistry at NUI Galway. His research group, ChemLight, focuses on the development of molecular and hybrid systems for solar chemicals production, as well as the preparation of materials for biomedical applications. He has authored or co-authored 30 peer-reviewed publications and 1 book chapter with over 600 citations. He is leading SEAFUEL, an INTERREG Atlantic Area project for the production and use of hydrogen for local transportation using renewable resources.

Friedhelm Finger

Photovoltaics, IEK-5, Institute of Energy and Climate Research, and Head of Division of IEK-5, Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany

Friedhelm Finger has been working at the Forschungszentrum Jülich in the Institute of Energy and Climate Research, IEK-5, since 1991, and he is Head of Division in IEK-5, since 2010. After graduating in physics at the Universities of Marburg and Dundee (UK), he got his PhD in 1988 with a thesis on “Defects in amorphous SiGe alloys” from University of Marburg, Germany.

His research activities focus on silicon and silicon alloys for thin-film and heterojunction solar cells, deposition methods for PV-materials with high efficiency and development of combined photovoltaic-electrochemical systems.

Some selected recent publications:

  • Urbain, F., Smirnov, V., Becker, J. P., Lambertz, A., Yang, F., Ziegler, J., Kaiser, B., Jaegermann, W., Rau, U., Finger, F. (2016). “Multijunction Si photocathodes with tunable photovoltages from 2.0 V to 2.8 V for light induced water splitting.” Energy & Environmental Science, 9, 145.
  • Becker, J.-P., Turan, B., Smirnov, V., Welter, K., Urbain, F., Wolff, J., Haas, S., Finger, F. (2017).  “A modular device for large area integrated photoelectrochemical water-splitting as a versatile tool to evaluate photoabsorbers and catalysts.” J. Mat. Chem. A, 5, 4818
  • Welter, K., Smirnov, V., Becker, J. P., Borowski, P., Hoch, S., Maljusch, A., Jaegermann, W., Finger, F. (2017). “The influence of operation temperature and variations of the illumination on the performance of integrated photoelectrochemical water-splitting devices”. ChemElectroChem, 4, 2099.
  • Welter, K., Hamzelui, N., Smirnov, V., Becker, J.-P., Jaegermann, W., Finger, F. (2018). “Catalysts from earth abundant materials in a scalable, stand-alone photovoltaic-electrochemical module for solar water splitting“. J. Mat. Chem. A, 6, 15968.​

We report on the development of a stand-alone and scalable photovoltaic-electrochemical (PV-EC) module using silicon based solar cells and catalysts from earth abundant materials. NiFeOX and NiMo are used as the oxygen evolution reaction catalyst and the hydrogen evolution reaction catalyst, respectively. Thin film silicon triple junction cells are used as photovoltaic power source for the electrochemical processes. We will show the module performance, demonstrate long-term stability under simulated day-night cycles and discuss issues of the PV-EC system integration and module up-scaling.

Authors: F. Finger, K. Welter, V. Smirnov

On the one hand I will elicit the fundamental concept of SIM and explain both the experimental realization as well as the reconstruction algorithm. Furthermore I will present typical origins of artifacts in the reconstructed images resulting from poorly chosen grating and, reconstruction parameters as well as the presence of motion.

Julio Lloret-Fillol

ICREA Research Professor and group leader at Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ)
Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST)

Prof. Julio Lloret-Fillol is ICREA Research Professor and group leader at Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ), a center of theBarcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST).

He graduated in Chemistry from the Universidad de Valencia in 2001, where he also obtained his PhD in 2006. After his PhD, he moved to the University of Heidelberg, where he stayed two years as a postdoctoral MEyC fellow and two years as a postdoctoral Marie Curie fellow. Since 2010, he has been working as independent research leader at Universitat de Girona (Ramón y Cajal programme). In 2014, he obtained a position as Young Research Group Leader at the Institut de Química Computational i Catàlisi (UdG). In November of the same year, he started his research group at the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ). In 2015, he obtained a consolidator award from the European Research Council and he was appointed as ICREA research professor.

Prof. Julio Lloret has produced over 70 peer-reviewed publications, 5 book chapters, 6 patents and he has delivered more than 60 invited talks and lectures. He has served as associate editor of RSC Advances in 2016.

The research of his group is mainly focused on designing new catalysts for a more sustainable chemistry by exploring artificial photosynthetic schemes (APS).

One of the most appealing research areas is the mechanistic understanding of multi-electron multi-proton processes, which is a central part of the activation of small molecules such as CO2 and H2O. Further understanding of how these mechanisms operate is essential for the development of effective catalysts for sustainable energy conversion and storage. In this line, we have discovered new water,[1-2] and CO2 reduction catalysts and expand their catalytic activity to the reduction of organic substrates,[3] opening a pathway for the synthesis of fine solar chemicals. In the presentation, we will introduce our advances towards applicability by developing reticular materials and nano-structuration to obtain modified electrodes which produces a significant increase in performance.


a Institut Català d’Investigació Química (ICIQ), The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology, Avinguda Països Catalans 16, 43007 Tarragona (Spain).

b ICREA, Passeig Lluís Companys 23, 08010 Barcelona (Spain)

  1. A. Call, Z. Codolà, F. Acuña-Parés, J. Lloret-Fillol, Chem. Eur. J. 2014, 20, 6171-6183.
  2. A. Call, F. Franco, N. Kandoth, S. Fernández, M. González-Béjar, J. Pérez-Prieto, J.M. Luis, J. Lloret-Fillol Chem. Sci. 2018, DOI: 10.1039/C7SC04328G.
  3.  A. Call, C. Casadevall, F. Acuña-Pares, A. Casitas Montero, J. Lloret Fillol, Chem. Sci. 2017, 8, 4739-4749.

Adelio Mendes

Professor at the Department of Chemical Engineering of the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto.

Professor Adélio Mendes (born 1964) received his PhD degree from the University of Porto in 1993. Full Professor at the Department of Chemical Engineering of the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto. Professor Mendes coordinates a large research team with research interests in dye sensitized solar cells and perovskite solar cells, photoelectrochemical cells, photocatalysis, redox flow batteries, electrochemical membrane reactors (PEMFC, H-SOFC, chemical synthesis), methanol steam reforming, membrane and adsorbent-based gas separations and carbon molecular sieve membranes synthesis and characterization.

First it was the wood and the fire, then the pitch; the industrial revolution brought the coal and later the oil and gas. Chemical Engineering as a separated Engineering field emerged from the so call petrochemistry or the chemistry of the petrol. Then, the world population grew exponentially because these great scientific and technological advancements and fossil fuels no longer ensured a sustainable development. At the beginning on the XXI century scientists begun pronouncing the word solarchemistry and solarchemical technologies; today’s the number of hits in google is just 2600 (for words solarchemistry and solarchemical), compared with 102 000 for words petrochemistry and petrochemical. It was nothing programed nor a breakthrough, it was and integration of various facts under an aggregating name coined independently is various places of the planet. The revolution is now going on, gaining momentum, for bringing us more suitable power and feed-stock chemicals; and the human development can continue for a new paradigm.

Several technologies born under the name of solarchemical technologies will be addressed. Among them, I would like to emphasizes: a) photoelectrochemical devices for solar i) water splitting; ii) charging redox flow cells and; iii) CO2 photoelectroreduction; b) PV developments and battery energy storage; c) PV-hydrolysis; d power to gas synthesis; e) methane decomposition. This talk aim at to motivate new researchers and seed new ideas for this endeavor.

Pere Roca i Cabarrocas

LPICM, CNRS, Ecole Polytechnique, Université Paris-Saclay, 91128 Palaiseau Cedex, France

Prof. Pere Roca i Cabarrocas, is an Electrical Engineer from the “Universitat Politécnica de Barcelona”. In 1984 he moved to Paris, where he received his PhD from University Paris VII in 1988. After a post-doc position in Princeton University he joined the Laboratory of Physics of Interfaces and Thin Films at Ecole Polytechnique where he holds a position as a CNRS director of research and as a professor. Since 2012 he is the director of LPICM and the French Federation on PV since 2014. He has thirty years of experience in the field of plasma deposition of silicon based thin films for large area electronic applications. His topics cover the study of RF discharges for the deposition of amorphous, polymorphous and microcrystalline silicon thin films. He has used in-situ diagnostic techniques such as UV-visible ellipsometry, Kelvin probe and time resolved microwave conductivity to understand the growth of these materials and apply them to the production of devices such as solar cells, thin film transistors, particle detectors, sensors,… More recently he has been applying silicon nanocrystals synthesized in the plasma as building blocks for the epitaxial growth of silicon thin films and Si/Ge quantum wells. On the other hand, he has extended the plasma processes to the growth of vertical silicon nanowires for third generation solar cells and of horizontal ones for planar electronic applications. He was the recipient of the Médaille Blondel in 2004, of the Innovation Award at Ecole Polytechnique in 2009 and the Silver medal from CNRS in 2011. Since 2016 he is invited professor at Nara Institute of Technology. He has over 450 papers in peer reviewed journals, holds 34 patents and has supervised 47 PhD students.

Low temperature plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) processes are widely used in silicon thin film technology, driven by hydrogenated amorphous and microcrystalline silicon thin films routinely used by flat panel display and PV industries. In recent years we have expanded the applications of PECVD to the growht of nanostructured materials by introducing metal catalysts to activate their growht. Unlike the case of the vapor-liquid-solid (VLS) process, where the decomposition of gaz precursors is activated by a metal catalyst (usually gold) at high temperature, PECVD allows to use low melting point metals (Sn, In, Bi, Ga,…) to produce a wide variety of nanostructured materials in the form of nanowires. In this presentation we will focus on the understanding of the growht of the nanowires using plasma-assisted VLS and in-plane solid-liquid-solid (SLS) processes. In particular we will discuss: i) the activation of the metal drops via a hydrogen plasma [1]; ii) the plasma-assisted growth of vertical silicon and germanium nanowires and nanotrees [2]; iii) the in-plane growth of Si, Ge and GeSn nanowires [3]; and iv) their application to solar cells [4], sensors [5] and stretchable electronics [6].

[1] Z. Fan, et al. Langmuir 33 (2017) 12114

[2] S. Misra et. al. J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 47 (2014) 393001.

[3] L. Yu, et al. Nano Letters 14 (2014) 6469.

[4] X. Sun, et al. Nano Energy 53 (2018) 83.

[5] F. Yang et al. Advanced Optical Materials 5 (2017) 1700390

[6] M. Xu et al. NanoScale 9 (2017) 10350.

Beatriz Roldan Cuenya

Department of Interface Science, Fritz-Haber-Institute of the Max Planck Society, Berlin, Germany

Prof. Beatriz Roldan Cuenya is currently the director of the Interface Science Department at the Fritz-Haber-Institute of the Max Planck Society in Berlin (Germany). She is Honorary Professor at the Berlin Institute of Technology (TU Berlin) and at Ruhr-University Bochum, both in Germany. Also, she serves as a Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Central Florida (USA).

Prof. Roldan Cuenya began her academic career by completing her M.S./B.S. in Physics with a minor in Materials Science at the University of Oviedo, Spain in 1998. Afterwards she moved to Germany and obtained her Ph.D. from the Department of Physics of the University of Duisburg-Essen with summa cum laude in 2001. Subsequently, she carried out her postdoctoral research in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of California Santa Barbara (USA) until 2003.

In 2004 she joined the Department of Physics at the University of Central Florida (UCF) as Assistant Professor where she moved through the ranks to become a full professor in 2012. In 2013 Prof. Roldan Cuenya, again moved to Germany to become a chair professor of Solid State Physics in the Department of Physics at Ruhr-University Bochum until 2017.

During her academic career Prof. Roldan Cuenya received an Early CAREER Award from the US National Science Foundation (2005) and the international Peter Mark Memorial award from the American Vacuum Society (2009). In 2016 she became Fellow of the Max Planck Society in Germany and in 2017 she obtained a consolidator award from the European Research Council.

Prof. Roldan Cuenya is the author of more than 110 peer-reviewed publications and 3 book chapters, and she has given more than 130 invited talks. She has also been granted 2 USA patents. Since 2018 she has been Associate editor of ACS Catalysis. She presently serves in the editorial advisory board of the Journal of Catalysis, the Surface Science journal and in the Advisory Committee of the Office of Basic Energy Sciences of the US Department of Energy.

Prof. Roldan Cuenya’s research program explores physical and chemical properties of nanostructures, with emphasis on advancements in nanocatalysis based on operando microscopic and spectroscopic characterization.

The electrochemical conversion of CO2 (CO2RR) into chemicals and fuels is of industrial significance since it might lead to a more efficient storage of renewable energy while closing the carbon cycle.

This talk will focus on model nanostructured plasma-activated single crystal, thin film and nanoparticle (NP) electrocatalysts (Cu, Ag, Zn, Cu-M with M = Co, Zn) for the electrocatalytic reduction of CO2. We will show how to tune catalytic selectivity based on rational catalyst and electrolyte design involving controlling the NP size1, shape2-4, chemical state5, defect concentration6, composition7, support interaction3, as well as the electrolyte properties by adding cations and anions (Cs+, Li+, Na+, K+, I, Br, Cl)8,9.

In situ and operando spectroscopic and microscopic methods have been used to gain insight into the correlation between the structure, chemical state, composition and reactivity of ligand-free size- and shape-controlled spherical and cubic NPs as well as plasma-activated Ag and Cu thin films and Cu single crystals during CO2RR. Dynamic changes in the morphology and composition were monitored under potential control via electrochemical atomic force microscopy, X-ray absorption fine-structure spectroscopy and quasi in situ X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Additionally, density functional theory calculations were used to provide new insights on the active sites and reaction mechanism of the former electrocatalysts, including the role of different electrolytes. Our results are expected to open up new routes for the reutilization of CO2 through its direct selective conversion into higher value products.

  1. H. Jeon, I. Sinev, F. Scholten, N. Divins, I. Zegkinoglou, L. Pielsticker, B. Roldan Cuenya, JACS 140, 9383 (2018).
  2. D. Gao, I. Zegkinoglou, N. J. Divins, F. Scholten, I. Sinev, P. Grosse, and B. Roldan Cuenya, ACS Nano 11, 4825 (2017).
  3. P. Grosse, D. Gao, F. Scholten, I. Sinev, H. Mistry, B. Roldan Cuenya, Angew. Chem. 57, 6192 (2018)
  4. H. S. Jeon, S. Kunze, F. Scholten, B. Roldan Cuenya, ACS Catal. 8, 531 (2018).
  5. H. Mistry, A. Varela, C.S. Bonifacio, I. Zegkinoglou, I. Sinev, Y.-W. Choi, K. Kisslinger, E. A. Stach, J.C. Yang, P. Strasser, B. Roldan Cuenya, Nat. Commun. 7, 12123 (2016)
  6. H. Mistry, Y. Choi, A. Bagger, F. Scholten, C. Bonifacio, I. Sinev, N. J. Divins, I. Zegkinoglou, H. Jeon, K. Kisslinger, E. A. Stach, J. C. Yang, J. Rossmeisl, B. Roldan Cuenya, Angew. Chem. 56, 11394 (2017).
  7. M. T. Bernal Lopez, A. Bagger, F. Scholten, I. Sinev, A. Bergmann, M. Ahmadi, J. Rossmeisl, B. Roldan Cuenya, Nano Energy (2018), in print.
  8. D. Gao, F. Scholten, B. Roldan Cuenya, ACS Catal. 7, 5112 (2017).
  9. D. Gao, I. T. McCrum, S. Deo, Y.-W. Choi, F. Scholten, W. Wan, J. G. Chen, M. J. Janik, B. Roldan Cuenya, ACS Catal. (2018) in print.

Sascha Sadewasser

Principal Investigator of the Laboratory for Nanostructured Solar Cells at INL – International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory and the Head of the Department for Quantum & Energy Materials.

Dr. Sascha Sadewasser is the Principal Investigator of the Laboratory for Nanostructured Solar Cells at INL – International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory and the Head of the Department for Quantum & Energy Materials. The group of Sascha works on the development of advanced solar cell materials and devices implementing nano- and microstructures. Additionally, scanning probe microscopy methods, especially Kelvin probe force microscopy, are developed and applied for the characterization of the optoelectronic nanostructure of solar cell materials. Finally, the group also works on 2D chalcogenide materials.

Sascha Sadewasser holds a Diploma (1995) in Physics from the RWTH Aachen, Germany and a PhD (1999) from the Washington University St. Louis, MO, USA. After 2 post-docs in Berlin (Hahn-Institute) and Barcelona (Centro Nacional de Microelectrónica), he became group leader and later deputy department head at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, Germany. After his Habilitation in Experimental Physics from the Free University of Berlin, Germany (2011) he joined INL in 2011. Sascha has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers, with about 2200 citations (h-index 27). He has published 5 book chapters and 2 books and has been granted 3 patents. He is also a member of several scientific committees and evaluation boards.

Polycrystalline Cu(In,Ga)Se2 (CIGSe) is a semiconductor with adjustable band gap and ideal properties for solar light harvesting. The material has been investigated for water splitting applications. However, the most important application is as absorber layer in thin film solar cells, which currently reach the highest power conversion efficiencies. Nevertheless, the scarce elements In and Ga raise concerns for their large-scale deployment.

Recent efficiency improvements have been achieved by the introduction of an alkali fluoride post-deposition treatment (AlkF-PDT). Direct and indirect effects of the alkali element at the interface and interface-near region in the CIGSe layer are thought to be responsible for these improvements. Using Kelvin probe force microscopy (KPFM), we show that also the electronic properties of grain boundaries (GBs) are beneficially modified by a KF-PDT. We observe that the KF-PDT increases the band bending at GBs by about 70% and results in a narrower distribution of work function values at the GBs [1]. This effect of the KF-PDT on the GB electronic properties is expected to contribute to the improved efficiency values observed for CIGSe thin-film solar cells with KF-PDT.

The second part of the presentation will be dedicated to solar cell concepts relying on the incorporation of CIGSe micro- and nanostructures. Ultra-thin CIGSe solar cells were realized introducing a point-contact passivation layer, consisting of a thin Al2O3 on the Mo back contact and with a regular hole pattern (~200 nm). An increase from 8% to 11.8% for devices with only 240 nm thick absorber layer was achieved [2]. On the other hand, micro-scale CISe islands were electro-deposited into holes in a SiO2 matrix and completed into solar cell devices [3], which can be used as micro-concentrator solar cells by adding a micro lens array.

Additionally, we will present the growth of CuInSe2 (CISe) nanowires as a first step towards nanostructured CIGSe solar cells. The growth was achieved in a single-step vacuum-based co-evaporation process. The resulting nanowires grow on top of a polycrystalline base layer, which makes them interesting for photovoltaic applications, especially for improved light absorption [4]. Using extensive electron microscopy study, we present a growth model explaining the surprising growth of nanowires on top of a polycrystalline base layer.

[1] N. Nicoara, Th. Lepetit, L. Arzel, S. Harel, N. Barreau, and S. Sadewasser, Scientific Reports 7, 41361 (2017).

[2] B. Vermang, J.T. Wätjen, Ch. Frisk, V. Fjällström, F. Rostvall, M. Edoff, P. Salomé, J. Borme, N. Nicoara, S. Sadewasser, IEEE J. Photovoltaics 4, 1644 (2014).

[3] S. Sadewasser, P. Salomé, and H. Rodriguez-Alvarez, Sol. Energy Mat. Sol. Cells 159, 496 (2017).

[4] H. Limborço, P.M.P. Salomé, J.P. Teixeira, D. Stroppa, R.-Ribeiro Andrade, N. Nicoara, K. Abderrafi, J. Leitão, J.C. González, and S. Sadewasser, CrystEngComm 18, 7147 (2016).

Kevin Sivula

Originally from the United States, Prof. Sivula studied at the University of Minnesota, obtaining a Bachelor degree in Chemical Engineering in 2002, and at the University of California, Berkeley, completing a doctorate in 2007 under the direction of Prof. Jean Fréchet. He then joined Prof. Michael Grätzel’s group at EPFL as a postdoc, and in 2011 he began an independent research program as Assistant Professor in the Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering at EPFL, where he was promoted to Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering in 2018. His research group, the Laboratory for molecular engineering of optoelectronic nanomaterials (LIMNO), is directed towards advancing solution-processed semiconductors for solar energy applications.

The development of robust and inexpensive semiconducting materials that operate at high efficiency are needed to make the direct solar-to-fuel energy conversion by photoelectrochemical cells economically viable. In this presentation our laboratory’s progress in the development new light absorbing materials and co-catalysts will be discussed along with the application toward overall solar water splitting tandem cells for H2 production. Specifically, this talk will highlight recent results with the ternary oxides (CuFeO2 and ZnFe2O4) 2D transition metal dichalcogenides, and organic (π-conjugated) semiconductors as solution-processed photoelectrodes. With respect to ternary oxides, in our recent work [1,2] we demonstrate state-of-the-art photocurrent with optimized nanostructuring and address interfacial recombination by the electrochemical characterization of the surface states and attached co-catalysts. In addition, we report an advance in the performance of solution processed two-dimensional (2-D) WSe2 for high-efficiency solar water reduction by gaining insight into charge transport and recombination by varying the 2D flake size[3]and passivating defect sites[4].

Finally, with respect to π-conjugated organic semiconductors, in our recent work [5] we demonstrate a π-conjugated organic semiconductor for the sustained direct solar water oxidation reaction. Aspects of catalysis and charge-carrier separation/transport are discussed.

[1] M. S. Prévot, X. A. Jeanbourquin, W. S. Bourée, F. Abdi, D. Friedrich, R. van de Krol, N. Guijarro, F. Le Formal, K. Sivula, Chem. Mater. 201729, 4952.

[2] X. Zhu, N. Guijarro, Y. Liu, P. Schouwink, R. A. Wells, F. L. Formal, S. Sun, C. Gao, K. Sivula, Adv. Mater. 2018, 1801612.

[3] X. Yu, K. Sivula, Chemistry of Materials 201729, 6863

[4] X. Yu, N. Guijarro, M. Johnson, K. Sivula, Nano Letters 201818, 215.

[5] P. Bornoz, M. S. Prévot, X. Yu, N. Guijarro, K. Sivula, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2015137, 15338.

Peter Strasser

Department of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering Division, Technical University Berlin, Germany

Peter Strasser is the chaired professor of “Electrochemistry and electrocatalytic Materials Science” in the Chemical Engineering Division of the Department of Chemistry at the Technical University Berlin. Prior to his appointment, he was Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Houston. Before moving to Houston, Prof. Strasser served as Senior Member of staff at Symyx Technologies, Inc., Santa Clara, USA.

In 1999, Prof. Strasser received his doctoral degree in Physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry from the Fritz-Haber-Institute of the Max-Planck-Society, Berlin, Germany, under the direction of Gerhard Ertl.

Peter Strasser was awarded the Otto-Hahn Research Medal by the Max-Planck Society, the Otto Roelen medal for catalysis awarded by the German Catalysis Society, the Ertl Prize awarded by the Ertl Center for catalysis, the Nature publishing award, as well as the Sir William Grove Award by the International Associated of Hydrogen Energy.

Electrochemistry and electrocatalysis play prominent roles on the dark side of solar fuels and chemicals. They lie at the heart of the interfacial conversion of free electrons into molecular bonds – and back into free electrons. For these electrochemical transformations to occur with the smallest possible energy losses and the utmost atom efficiency, optimized nanostructured multi-component catalyst materials are critical, yet for many desirable multi-electron solar fuel reactions unknown. The successful discovery and development of novel nanostructured electrocatalyst materials requires insight into the relation between their atomic-scale structure and their catalytic performance. Unraveling such relations is thus a scientific priority.

In this talk, I will highlight some advances of our recent work on the electrochemical reduction of CO2 into value-added fuels and chemicals, in particular CO. Focus will be placed on a thorough understanding of structure-activity relations of new materials for the electroreduction of CO2 and their liquid-solid interfaces.

Workshop Organizers

Dr. Lifeng Liu

Group Leader of Nanomaterials for Energy Storage and Conversion Group at INL,

Department of Quantum Materials, Science and Technology.

International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory, Braga, Portugal.


Dr. Pedro Alpuim

Group Leader of 2D Materials and Devices at INL.

Dept. of Quantum Materials, Science and Technology

INL – International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory – Braga

Professor in the Physics Department of the University of Minho (UM) – Braga


Marcelino Maneiro graduated with an M.S. degree in chemistry from the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC), Galiza, Spain, in 1993 and received his Ph.D. degree in 1998 under the supervision of Professors Manuel R. Bermejo and Antonio Sousa in Santiago de Compostela, working in the field of coordination chemistry and, in particular, focusing on the study of manganese complexes as mimetic models for artificial photosynthesis. During his Ph.D. degree period, he also performed different stages in 1996-1997 at the University of Manchester, Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST), UK, under the supervision of Professor Charles A. McAuliffe. From 1998 to 2000, Maneiro was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Princeton University, NJ, USA, with Professor Charles G. Dismukes; in 2004, he was a Visiting Researcher at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, Ireland, working in the Kevin Nolan group.

Since 2000, Maneiro has occupied different researcher and academic positions at USC, and he became a Professor of inorganic chemistry at USC in 2007. Maneiro is an author or coauthor of more than 55 scientific publications. His research topics focus on biomimetic catalysts, synthetic inorganic complexes that can simulate the mode of action of a natural enzyme by catalyzing a reaction in ambient conditions. Bioinorganic chemistry of manganese complexes, studying their peroxidase and catalase activities, and their capacity to catalyse water photolysis are some of his research areas of interest. He is also keenly interested in the role of the supramolecular contacts in these systems to enhance the catalytic activity of the complexes. Maneiro currently leads the Bioinorganic and Supramolecular Chemistry research group (SUPRABIOIN) at USC.

Recent publications:
“Effect of the metal ion on the enantioselectivity and linkage isomerization of thiosemicarbazone helicates”, Chem. Eur. J., 23, 4884-4892 (2017).
“The Golden Method”: Electrochemical synthesis is an efficient route to gold complexes, Inorg. Chem., 55, 7823-7825 (2016).

“An unusual assembled Pb(II) meso-helicate that shows the inert pair effect”, Dalton Trans., 45, 16162-16165 (2016).

Natural and artificial photosynthesis: general discussion”,  Faraday Discuss., 185, 187-217 (2015).

“Alkali-metal-ion-directed self-assembly of redox-active manganese(III) supramolecular boxes”,  Inorg. Chem., 54, 2512-2521 (2015).


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