Nanostructured Materials for Photovoltaic Energy Group

Group Leader: Mónica Lira-Cantú

Main Research Lines

  • Organic, Hybrid, Dye-sensitized, Halide Perovskite and All-oxide Solar Cells: materials synthesis and characterisation and complete device fabrication
  • Synthesis of metal oxides by low-cost, low-temperature and “green” solution processing methods
  • Solution processing methods for the fabrication of solar cells (and printed electronics)
  • Degradation studies of the stability of Solar Cells following ISOS protocols

The Nanostructured Materials for Photovoltaic Energy Group focuses on different objectives, all related to the development of highly efficient, highly stable and low-cost solution processable photovoltaic and optoelectronic devices:

The synthesis of nanostructured materials, especially those involving transition metal oxides (TMOs) and graphene, applying low-cost and solution processing methods is a major goal for the group. TMOs have many possible applications as main active materials or barrier layers, but are also applied as materials for external light management. The application of low-temperature synthesis methods (sol-gel, hydrothermal, SILAR, among many others) permits tuning and control of the properties of the final device.

The stability and long life of optoelectronic devices, especially organic solar cells, is a major limitation for these technologies to reach the marketplace. A consortium of more than 260 members, among them 60 internationally-recognized research laboratories and 17 industries from 31 countries, have joined an EU COST Action project related to the stability of organic solar cells. The project is led by ICN2 trough Group Leader Mónica Lira-Cantú, coordinator of the consortium. The goal is to take advantage of the multiple characterisation techniques available from the different partners to elucidate the degradation mechanism of these devices and propose disruptive solutions towards highly stable Organic solar cells.

The review article “Vertically-aligned nanostructures of ZnO for excitonic solar cells: a review” by Irene González-Valls and Mónica Lira-Cantú, has been in the top 10 most cited articles of the journal Energy & Environmental Science (impact factor 15.49) since 2009.

Group Leader

Mónica Lira-Cantú

CSIC Tenured Scientist

Mónica Lira-Cantú (Chemistry, 1992), obtained a Master and PhD degrees in Materials Science at the Materials Science Institute of Barcelona (ICMAB) / Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (1995/1997) and completed her postdoctoral work under a contract with the company Schneider Electric/ICMAB (1998). From 1999 to 2001 she worked as permanent Senior Staff Chemist at ExxonMobil Research & Engineering (formerly Mobil Technology Co) in New Jersey (USA) initiating a laboratory on energy-related applications. Currently, she is Group Leader of the Nanostructured Materials for Photovoltaic Energy Group ( of the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, ICN2.

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Highlighted Publication

3C-SiC Transistor with Ohmic Contacts Defined at Room Temperature
Li F., Sharma Y., Walker D., Hindmarsh S., Jennings M., Martin D., Fisher C., Gammon P., Pérez-Tomás A., Mawby P. IEEE Electron Device Letters (2016)

All publications