The 30-year-old physicist won over the jury with her work on boron-silicon compounds in silicon solar cells. The compounds are the main reason for the efficiency limit of highly efficient solar cells. Although the phenomenon has been known for a few years, the causes were not yet fully explained.
For her dissertation, Dr. Lim studied the behavior of boron-oxygen compounds and a procedure for moving them to a location where they do not cause damage. She is following in the scientific footsteps of the first winner of the SolarWorld Junior Einstein Award, Axel Herguth from the University of Konstanz, Germany. One very important conclusion of Lim’s work was that boron-oxygen compounds behave differently in lower-cost silicon than had been expected. Additionally, she explored ways in which to eliminate the damaging effect of boron-oxygen compounds. As a result of her experiments, Dr. Lim was able to develop a new model to explain the three-way relationship between boron, oxygen and silicon resulting during the formation and separation of the compounds.
“The efficiency of solar cells will in the future be even more strongly linked to defects and impurities in the silicon. Preventing these defects or moving them to locations where they do not cause damage can greatly increase the potential of the efficiency,” said Dr. Lim’s doctoral advisor Prof. Dr. Jan Schmidt. “Dr. Bianca Lim set herself apart from the numerous other applicants due to her scientifically grounded work that is also highly relevant for solar cell manufacturing,” said jury member Dr. Gunter Erfurt, explaining the decision.
Dr. Bianca Lim is the first female winner in the seven-year history of the renowned award for up-and-coming scientists in the field of photovoltaics. Twelve applicants in all made it to the final round of this year’s scientific competition. The jury came to its decision following a day of presentations by all of the finalists in Freiberg in the German state of Saxony, where SolarWorld AG’s largest production facility and the headquarters of its SolarWorld Innovations research company are located.
Lim completed a physics degree at the Freie Universität Berlin and wrote her diploma thesis at the former Hahn-Meitner-Institut (now the Helmholtz-Zentrum) in Berlin. Already while writing her thesis, she dedicated herself to renewable energies and carried out research on solar cells with ultra-thin absorber films made of indium sulfide and lead sulfide. After finishing her studies in Berlin, Lim began as a doctoral student at ISFH in Hamelin and completed her Ph.D. in 2012 at the Gottlieb-Wilhelm-Leibniz University in Hanover.
About the SolarWorld Junior Einstein Award: Since 2006 SolarWorld AG has presented this award to young scientists whose academic work has demonstrated excellence in photovoltaics or a related field. Graduates of a university or university of applied sciences program in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, renewable energy, engineering, chemistry, physics or process engineering are eligible to apply. Read more at www.einstein-award.de.
About ISFH: The Institute for Solar Energy Research is a private branch of the Leibniz University in Hanover and a leader in the development of methods for the production of highly efficient silicon solar cells. The ISFH presently employs around 160 staff, just under one third of which are students and doctoral candidates.
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