SENECA Talk 4: Material Discovery for Emerging-PV Technologies


Welcome at the SENECA Talks, a monthly seminar series on Solar ENErgy Conversion and StorAge organised by EnergyVille/imec/UHasselt (imo-imomec).

June 6th 2024 10:00 – 11:00 AM
Onsite EnergyVille 2 (Thor Park 8320, 3600 Genk) and Online via MS Teams
Contact: Sudhanshu Shukla –

This lecture will be held in English.

Organic or perovskite photovoltaics poses a multi-objective optimization problem in a large multi-dimensional parameter space. Massive progress was achieved in developing methods to accelerate solving such complex optimization tasks. We have demonstrated for both types of semiconductors, that the combination of Gaussian Process Regression (GPR) and Bayesian Optimization (BO) are most efficient in predicting new materials, identify optimized processing conditions or invent alternative device architectures in larger parameter rooms. For a 4 dim space (solvent, donor-acceptor ratio, spin speed, concentration) with about 1000 variations in a 10 % grid space, 30 samples are sufficient to find the optimum. For 5 & 6 dimensional spaces, the possible variations go into the millions. Nevertheless, our automated lines, being operated in an autonomous optimization mode, were able to identify globalized optima within several hundred´s of experiments. That raises the question whether these large material spaces as well hold the promise for discoveries. We extended the BO concept towards the discovery of new molecules that can be integrated into the device optimization cycle. The research campaign found molecular semiconductors that had not been published before but yielded performance values bypassing the current state of the art materials.

About the speaker

Christoph J. Brabec received his PhD (1995) in Physical Chemistry from Linz University, Austria and joined the group of Alan Heeger at UC Santa Barbara (USA) for a sabbatical. He joined the SIEMENS research labs (project leader) in 2001, Konarka in 2004 (CTO), Erlangen University (FAU – Professor for Material Science) in 2009, ZAE Bayern e.V. (scientific director and board member) in 2010, spokesmen of the Interdisciplinary Center for Nanostructured Films (IZNF) in 2013 and became director at FZ Jülich (IEK-11) in 2018. In 2018 he was further appointed as Honorary Professor at the University of Groningen, Netherlands.
His research interests include all aspects of solution processing organic, hybrid and inorganics semiconductor devices with a strong focus on photovoltaics and renewable energy systems. A major research interest are scalable processing technologies allowing to control microstructure formation in disordered semiconductors. A very recent activity explores the limitation of autonomous operating research line for accelerating innovation and inventions in materials science. His combined scientific and technological interests supported the spin-out of several companies. He published over 1000 articles, thereof over 800 peer reviewed articles, about 100 patents, several books and book chapters and overall received 100.000 citations. His h-index is over 140 and Thompson Reuters HRC lists him for the last years consecutively as a highly cited researcher.

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