Nanostructured Materials for Photovoltaic Energy

Group Leader: Mónica Lira-Cantú


Top female researchers in renewable energy discuss gender balance at the WiRE-SO workshop

The 2nd annual Women in Renewable Energy workshop, hosted under the umbrella of the ICN2 Severo Ochoa workshops, was held online on the last 16 October. This event, dedicated to energy storage application and key trends in sustainability, was organized by Prof. Mónica Lira from the ICN2 and Prof. Zakya Kafafi from Lehigh University in Bethlehem (USA). The excellent scientific sessions were followed by a roundtable on the role of women in science, their challenges, permanent discrimination, and the possibility of transforming scientific research into a more inclusive environment. 

ICN2 #StayAtHome Seminar: Current Approaches for Perovskite Solar Cells Stability Studies

Now available on YouTube! The ICN2 Group led by Prof. Mónica Lira Cantu hosted on 17 April 2020 a webinar to discuss about good practices on conducting and reporting stability studies specifically tailored for perovskite solar cells. The event was co-hosted by Prof. Eugene A. Katz, from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Its dynamic format included short presentations by international young experts and was organised by Dr Haibing Xie (ICN2) and Dr Mark Khenkin (HZB).

A consensus statement establishes the protocols to assess and report stability of perovskite photovoltaic devices

The existing characterization procedures to evaluate emerging photovoltaic devices are not appropriate for halide perovskite solar cells, a new generation of solar cells called to overcome the present state-of-the-art technologies. A vast group of scientists, led by Prof. Mónica Lira-Cantú (ICN2) and Prof. Eugene A. Katz (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev), have reached a consensus on the suitable procedures and the variables to be reported in stability studies of this kind of solar cells. The consensus statement, highlighted in the last issue of Nature Energy, updates the ISOS protocols for the stability assessment of perovskite photovoltaics with additional procedures to account for properties specific to this technology.

Materials to provide solutions for tomorrow’s challenges

An Alliance for Materials Memorandum has been published by the EuMaT, with the aim to underline the paramount importance of materials science and technology in addressing societal challenges and to state the Materials community’s commitments for a better future.

Enhanced hematite-based photoanodes for more efficient solar water splitting cells

Cheaper and better performing photoelectrochemical water splitting cells could be designed in the next future thanks to a new technology developed at the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2), the Catalonia Institute for Energy Research (IREC) and the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ). Recently published on Advanced Energy Materials, this research has involved the ICN2 Advanced Electron Nanoscopy group and the Nanostructured Materials for Photovoltaic Energy group.

Official release of European Perovskite-PV White Paper

The European Perovskite Initiative (EPKI) has produced a white paper that encompasses the overall progression roadmap planned by the research community within Europe. It also expresses the need for further commitment and support from European organizations. The ICN2 is one of the partners of this young initiative aimed at raising awareness of perovskite-based photovoltaics and facilitating joint-research programs and synergies amongst its members.

The ICN2 receives its second Severo Ochoa Excellence Award

The ceremony celebrated at the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities was hosted by Minister Pedro Duque. The ICN2 Severo Ochoa Programme is a four year research strategy to strengthen the tools and the research performed in areas as relevant as energy, health, ICT and environment. A delegation of the 5 Severo Ochoa Excellence Centers and the 7 Maria de Maeztu Excellence Units participated in the event. The ICN2 delegation was led by ICREA Prof. Jose Antonio Garrido, Vice-Director of the ICN2.

The SPIE conference WiRE will gather female researchers on renewable energy

Prof. Mónica Lira-Cantu (ICN2) and Prof. Zakya Kafafi (Lehigh University) are the Co-Chairs of the Women in Renewable Energy conference endorsed by SPIE. The event will have sessions devoted to the technical aspects of renewable energy together with a roundtable and a presentation focused on gender equality.

Ferroelectric oxides in perovskite solar cells increase their stability

Researchers from the ICN2 Nanostructured Materials for Photovoltaic Energy Group and the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne have used a ferroelectric oxide (PbZrTiO3) as an electron extraction material for stable halide perovskite solar cells. This complex oxide, used for the first time with this purpose, not only avoids the inconveniences of classical oxides such as TiO2, but also enhances the carrier transfer. This advancement was highlighted in the cover of Sustainable Energy and Fuels.

Celebrating the International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2019

The ICN2 is involved in a series of initiatives to support this Day that is unfortunately still necessary. 100tífiques is one of the central actions involving the ICN2, the BIST centers and other Catalan research institutions to bring science and the role of women researchers closer to young students.


Prof. Mónica Lira explains nanotechnology on the radio

La COPE radio station interviewed last night Prof. Mónica Lira-Cantú, Group Leader of the ICN2 Nanostructured Materials for Photovoltaic Energy Group. She introduced the concept of nanoscience and nanotechnology and explained some of the most exciting research lines she leads.

La Vanguardia explores the materials that are shaping the future

The Spanish newspaper devotes two full pages to explain how nanotechnology is shaping materials at the nanoscale for multiple applications. Among experts from other centers, four ICN2 Group Leaders share their research with an impact in fields such as energy, flexible circuits and biomedicine.

Feynman visits the Barcelona Science Fair with ICN2 ambassadors

Once again the Barcelona Science Fair brought together science lovers and scientists in a wonderful setting for family fun and discussion. The ICN2 joined the celebrations around the 100th anniversary of Richard Feynman’s birth, also presenting some of the highlights of its Severo Ochoa Programme.

New transistor concept, solar cell included

ICN2 researchers have developed a novel concept in transistor technology: a two-in-one power source plus transistor device that runs on solar energy. Published in Advanced Functional Materials and currently trending in the Wiley-VCH “Hot Topics” list, lead author Amador Pérez-Tomás is calling it the “solaristor”.

StableNextSol COST Project covered in the European Energy Innovation Magazine

The StableNextSol COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) Action Project integrates and generates fundamental knowledge and expertise to foster disruptive innovations targeted to mitigate device failure and to propose and develop new concepts for more stable emerging solar cells. The project is coordinated by Prof. Mónica Lira-Cantú, Group Leader of the ICN2 Nanostructured Materials for Photovoltaic Energy Group. The European Energy Innovation is a communication platform with the aim of putting energy and transport stakeholders in touch with each other.

ICN2 hosts one coffee meeting organised by FCRi

Fundació Catalana per a la Recerca i la Innovació (FCRi) organised, together with ICN2 and sponsored by Ibercaja, a visit to the ICN2 facilities. The visit included a guided tour and interaction with scientists who presented samples of technology.

Research on organic photovoltaic cells gets a boost

The European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) has chosen to fund ICN2 Prof. Mónica Lira-Cantu’s StableNextSol Action, which will create an interdisciplinary, pan-European network of researchers to improve the stability of organic photovoltaic cells. The COST Action’s first Management Committee meeting was held on March 20, 2014, in Brussels, Belgium.