Internship | Damp heat degradation of CIGS solar cells



Education type

university (wo)


Internship and graduation project

Hours a week

Fulltime – 40


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What will you be doing?

We are looking for an intern in the unit Industry in which our inspirational work is geared to technological breakthroughs to create innovations in key societal and economic themes. Our projects tend to have a significant international impact and our facilities are unique.

A correct estimation of the lifetime of solar cells is very important for the PV (PhotoVoltaics) industry. Especially for new types of solar cells, like CIGS (copper indium gallium selenide), the prediction of the service lifetime is still hard, since these modules have not been outside for twenty years.

In previous studies, it has been observed that CIGS cells mainly fail the ALT test 'damp heat', in which the samples are heated in the presence of water vapor. Furthermore, it was observed that light influences the behavior of CIGS cells, although it was notices that this effect is not always detrimental. In this study, we have designed a setup to use both damp heat and light to degrade CIGS solar cells, while the light also allows obtaining in-situ IV curves. At TNO/Solliance, we are using Accelerated Lifetime Testing (ALT) to show how and under what conditions CIGS solar cells degrade. We are also studying the chemical and physical degradation mechanisms.

With this setup, we have the excellent and unique possibility to study CIGS solar cell. Both the influence of temperature, light and humidity can be observed. The goal of this project will be to study the impact of temperature change on the solar cell parameters.

What do we require of you?

We are looking for a student with a background in (technical) chemistry or physics or electrical engineering with interest in renewable energy. The duration of this project should be minimal six months, preferably in the MSc phase of your study.
You are highly motivated and have an accurate and critical work attitude. You are able to work relatively independently within a small team.

Main tasks:
  • Perform a literature study on the impact of tempature on CIGS solar cells
  • Analyse freshly deposited and degraded CIGS solar cells under various temperatures
  • Determine the influence of the temperature on the CIGS solar cell output
  • Determine the influence of degradation of CIGS on temperature dependence.

What can you expect of your work situation?

TNO is an independent research organisation whose expertise and research make an important contribution to the competitiveness of companies and organisations, to the economy and to the quality of society as a whole. Innovation with purpose is what TNO stands for. We develop knowledge not for its own sake but for practical application. To create new products that make life more pleasant and valuable and help companies innovate. To find creative answers to the questions posed by society. We work for a variety of customers: governments, the SME sector, large companies, service providers and non-governmental organisations. Working together on new knowledge, better products and clear recommendations for policy and processes. In everything we do, impact is the key. Our product and process innovations and recommendations are only worth something if our customers can use them to boost their competitiveness.

What can TNO offer you?

You want to work on the precursor of your career; a work placement gives you an opportunity to take a good look at your prospective future employer. TNO goes a step further. It’s not just looking that interests us; you and your knowledge are essential to our innovation. That’s why we attach a great deal of value to your personal and professional development. You will, of course, be properly supervised during your work placement and be given the scope for you to get the best out of yourself. Naturally, we provide suitable work placement compensation.

Has this vacancy sparked your interest?

Then please feel free to apply on this vacancy! For further questions don’t hesitate to contact us.

Contact: Mirjam Theelen
Phone number: +31 (0)88-86 65688

Note that applications via email and third party applications are not taken into consideration.


Apply now


Dr. Mirjam Theelen 

  • solar cells
  • reliability
  • lifetime
  • CIGS
  • photovoltaics

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