LENS – Light and Electricity from Novel Semiconductors


Researchers at LENS describe their efforts as “application-motivated basic research” where they address fundamental materials science and physics issues but in most cases with a clear vision for long-term applications relevant to enabling technologies for renewable energy.As part of this effort, scientists in this project attempt to address the entire `value-chain´ from materials synthesis to realization and evaluation of test (device) structures. LENS currently is comprised of approximately 18 externally funded projects. The key focus areas are:

  • Wide bandgap semiconductors and transparent conductive oxides (especially, ZnO, SiC and Indium-Tin-Oxides), (specific headlines are “synthesis”, “doping”, “defects”, “gate dielectrics”, “radiation detectors”, “devices for solid state lighting”, “photovoltaics and new generation solar cells”, and “photo-electrical-conversion”.)
  • Semiconductor nanoscience/technology (“embedded nanocrystals”, “porous Si”, “thermoelectric materials”, and “ion-beam nanostructuring”.)
  • High and medium purity Si (“solar cells”, “light trapping”, “radiation detectors”, “shallow junctions”, “point defects and diffusion”.)
  • Micro- and nanophotonics, in particular photonic crystals for next-generation Si solar cells and biomedical sensors.

LENS also plays a central role in the Norwegian Centre for Environmental Energy Research on Solar Cell Technology, a project funded in part by Norwegian Research Council of Norway that involves four research partners and nine industrial partners.

Among the recent research projects conducted by group members are investigations into Li and OH-Li complexes in hydrothermally grown single-crystalline ZnO, where
Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and secondary-ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) were used to investigate the relation between the Li concentration and the strength of the 3577 cm-1 absorption line in five as-grown hydrothermal ZnO wafers. As well as an examination of electronic properties of n-ZnO(Al)/p-Si heterojunction prepared by dc magnetron sputtering.

(Bengt G. Svensson, Terje Finstad, Edouard V. Monakhov, Aasmund Sudbø, Lasse Vines)

AFM image of a silicon wafer with x-y-periodic holes. The image is from PhD candidate Jo Gjessing at the Department of Physics at UiO. His thesis is titled ‘Photonic crystals for light trapping in solar cells’ and the research is performed in collaboration with IFE (Institute of Energy Technology).