EU targets for the use of renewable energy and energy efficient devices are driving rapid growth in the global market for low-carbon goods and services, resulting in increasing demand for advanced materials and related technologies. Thin films, with a thickness from a fraction of a nanometre to several micrometres, are key components in numerous energy applications such as solar cells, LEDs, energy efficient windows and solid state power electronics which are used to control the flow of electricity from the grid.
The lack of reliable measurement protocols and calibration procedures for thin films has hampered the development of these technologies. A key challenge is that thin film materials typically have complex structures, requiring multiple characterisation techniques to analyse them adequately.
This project developed a measurement framework for reliably characterising thin films, and has delivered new instrumentation, industrial consultancy, calibration services, standards documents, new solar cell technology, and a spin out company.