The Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie GmbH (HZB), formerly Hahn-Meitner-Institut Berlin, is a research center (yearly budget ~110 million €) within the German Helmholtz Association which focuses on structural and solar energy research. Around 40% of the ~1100 employees are scientists. HZB operates scientific large scale facilities for neutron scattering and synchrotron-based advanced materials analysis. In the department of solar energy, 260 people work on thin-film and wafer-based solar cells and multispectral cells. R&D at HZB spans the full range from fundamental research on innovative materials and processes up to technology transfer for devices to industry.
Two HZB institutes are involved in NextBase: The PVcomB (Competence center thin-film and nanotechnology for PV Berlin) develops industrial size SHJ cell and lab modules with industry relevant processes, offering baseline processes for the SHJ technology at HZB. The institute ‘Silicon Photovoltaics’ works on the scientific and technological foundations for silicon thin-film PV, with core competence (among others) in SHJ cells on wafers and pc-Si on glass, and in advanced characterization. Within three international (EU FP7: HETSI, HERCULES; ANPE (F): Smash IBC II) and several national projects, we have developed wafer-based rear contact solar cells and have recently patented two new rear contact designs. On cells with front side texture, passivation and ARC from ISFH Hameln, we have fabricated RC heterojunction cells with an efficiency of 20.2%, at that time a European record value.