Photovoltaic (PV) cells can directly convert sunlight into electricity and have become over the last years the world’s most rapidly growing energy source. Silicon remains the most common material used to make PV cells, similarly to its key role in microelectronics. Due to the growing demand for renewable energy sources, research on photovoltaic physics and materials has increased considerably in recent years.
Ferroelectric photovoltaic materials are now generating much interest. Although PV effects in ferroelectrics have been known for 50 years, they have received little attention due to their initially reported low power conversion efficiency. The recent interest in PV ferroelectrics is triggered by reports that the low conversion efficiencies can be overcome by large (above-band gap) photovoltages in complex oxides, the possibility of tip-enhanced PV effects at the nanoscale or the fundamental role of domain walls which can be tuned by external fields. All this indicates that ferroelectric photovoltaic materials potentially have a bright future for solar-energy generation.
Compared with classical semiconductors, ferroelectric materials present a fundamentally different polarization-related charge separation mechanism. While the importance of ferroelectric domain walls has been recognized, an international research effort is clearly needed to obtain a deeper understanding of this and other mechanisms in the electric-hole separation and to identify routes for enhanced conversion efficiencies. Furthermore, most of the recent stimulating work focuses on the unusual multiferroic perovskites BiFeO3, which is probably only the “tip of the iceberg” in terms of other interesting and useful materials that remain to be identified.
Most of the international research effort on Ferroelectric photovoltaic materials has been conducted outside Europe, despite a longstanding expertise in both ferroelectric materials and photovoltaic applications. The aim of this workshop is to bring together these two communities to discuss both fundamental ferroelectrics-related issues and the potential of ferroelectric photovoltaics for applications. How are we to separate fact from fiction, and hype from hope in PV ferroelectrics?
The workshop is limited to 30 participants to promote high-quality discussions.
For any enquiries, please contact us at Ferro_PV at warwick dot ac dot uk.