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Nanoscale Visualization of Electronic Transport in Transparent Conducting Oxides for Solar Cells

Project goal: Understanding the relation between grain orientation (gray shaded area in top SEM micrograph) and lateral electron transport in polycrystalline transparent conductive oxides (TCOs) used as front electrodes in solar cells.

Tasks: the project tasks range from thin film growth and device fabrication to nanoscale characterization as follows:

  1. Fabrication: Thin film deposition of Zr-doped In2O3 by pulsed laser deposition (PLD), and fabrication of micro channels by optical lithography for carrying out electrical measurements. 
  2. Characterization: Investigation of the electric transport properties of the fabricated structures by means of Kelvin Probe Microscopy (KPM), i.e. a special Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) mode. A map of the surface potential will be obtained to observe whether a preferred conduction path exists in these oxides.

Note: This project is a collaboration between two research groups, Optoelectronic Materials at IMS ( ) and Advanced Materials for Energy Applications at TFE ( This project is ideal for students in Applied Physics and Nanotechnology MSc programs.


Dr. Monica Morales-Masis, C3237,

Dr. Miguel Muñoz Rojo, N215,