Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin

At the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie (HZB) we explore materials and complex material systems that help to face current and future challenges, such as the energy transition – “Energiewende”. One of the HZB’s research emphases is on materials for thin-film photovoltaics and for the conversion of solar energy into chemical energy carriers (e.g. molecular hydrogen).

To be able to study material structures and processes in detail, the HZB operates two separate large-scale research facilities – the neutron source BER II and the synchrotron radiation source BESSY II – used by some 3,000 guest scientists from all around the World every year. At both facilities, HZB teams have developed in some cases unparalleled instruments and are continuing to work on increasing their measurement precision to allow for new insights to be gleaned. The HZB is a member of the Helmholtz Association and co-founder of the Competence Centre for Thin-Film and Nanotechnology for Photovoltaics Berlin (PVcomB), whose mission it is to promote the technology transfer to industry.


Bridging the gap between fundamental research and industry.

  • Technology transfer from lab developments into cost effective production
  • R&D on all aspects of production of thin-film PV modules
  • Education and training of highly skilled thin-film PV professionals

30×30 cm2 Reference Lines for Thin-Film Silicon (a-Si/μc-Si) and CIGS

There is a gap between production of lab-sized photovoltaic cells and industrial-size modules. PVcomB bridges this gap by operating two dedicated reference-lines for research on inter-mediate size PV modules with an area of 30 x 30 cm². This intermediate module size is well suited to address various questions arising in industrial production.

The great variety of analytical tools available ensures that changes in the product-performance can be linked to fundamental material or process properties. A truly unique feature of PVcomB´s reference-lines is that both thin-film silicon as well as CIGS based modules will be studied within a single laboratory. This convenient arrangement offers the potential to unlock significant synergies in many topics common to all thin-film based technologies.

Education and Training

The PV-industry in Germany and elsewhere is experiencing increasing difficulties in finding qualified scientific personnel for R&D as well as skilled technical staff. Together with partners from universities and other research and education facilities, PVcomB offers a variety of training and education modules. The curriculum is being developed at the moment, for details and a program developed for you specific needs please contact us.

Managing Directors: Prof. Dr. Bernd Rech, Thomas Frederking

Year of foundation: 2009

Employees: 1,100

Contact details
Helmholtz Center Berlin
Hahn-Meitner-Platz 1
14109 Berlin


Annett McBeath


Managing Director PVcomB: Prof. Dr. Rutger Schlatmann (Director)

Year of foundation: 2007


Contact details PVComB
Schwarzschildstr. 3
12489 Berlin


Contact person PVcomB
Annett McBeath

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