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African School on Nanoscience for Solar Energy Conversion


Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) May 3-7, 2010


  •           Teketel Yohannes (Univ. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)
  •           Ralph Gebauer (ICTP, Trieste, Italy)



Motivation for an African Workshop on Nano-Solar Research:

The African continent is characterized by strong solar radiation. It is therefore ideally suited for implementations of solar energy technology. Also, the absence of a powerful energy infrastructure (grids) makes the use of small, decentralized, solar devices very attractive.

One of the main obstacles for a more generalized use of photovoltaics in Africa is the relatively high cost of present solar cells. The possibility of new cost-efficient nanostructured solar devices is therefore an encouraging promise in those countries.

Much like the production, also research in this field is rather cheap. In contrast to many other fields of science where large and expensive machines are needed to perform experiments, the entry-barrier for research in this field can be relatively low. It is therefore one of the main goals of this workshop to bring scientists from developing countries in contact with state of the art research and to enable them to carry out their own research in this domain.

This is one way of avoiding that the knowledge gap between industrialized countries and the developing world widens too much especially in this critical field.

This workshop will bring together a large group of interested scientists from all over Africa with international experts, both from academy and industry.


Scientific Case:

Recent years have seen the emergence of a new class of photovoltaic devices. While most of today's widely used solar panels are based on semiconductor heterojunctions, new concepts make extensive use of nanotechnology and involve electron transfer processes at surfaces. Prominent examples of such new approaches are the well known Graetzel solar cell, where light is ``harvested'' by dye molecules at the surface of a nanostructured semiconductor, bulk heterojunction solar cells based on conjugated polymer donors, and fullerene acceptor systems or a combination of both approaches (organic/inorganic hybrid).

Classical solar cells are rather expensive because an extremely clean environment and high temperatures are needed for their production. In contrast, nanostructured organic solar cells can typically be produced using well established wet-chemistry methods and therefore hold the promise of low production costs.

However, in spite of enormous progress in recent years, such new generation solar devices still have a lower efficiency than Si-based solar panels, and their lifetime is rather limited. New insights into the mechanism of electron and hole dynamics in the dye molecules, surface electron transfer and other fundamental processes may lead to further improvement of such devices.

The close interplay of basic physical processes with concrete technological applications make this field ideal for close collaborations between theoretical science and experiments.


List of Confirmed Speakers:


·        Christoph J. Brabec, Konarka Inc., Linz, Austria (*)

·        Keith Brooks, Dyesol Group, Lutry, Switzerland

·        Nadia Camaioni, CNR, Bologna, Italy

·        Filippo De Angelis, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy

·        Aldo Di Carlo, Rome University, Rome, Italy (*)

·        Olle Inganas, University of Linkoping, Linkoping, Sweden

·        Yongfang Li, Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing, China

·        Nicola Marzari, MIT, Cambridge, USA

·        Dieter Meissner, Crystalsol, Vienna, Austria

·        Niyazi Serdar Sariciftci, Linz Institute for Organic Solar Cells, Linz University, Linz, Austria

·        Carlo Taliani, CNR, Bologna, Italy

(*): To be confirmed



 You can apply for participation in the school online by following this link.


A poster advertisement of the school can be found here (pdf).



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