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Emerging inorganic materials in thin-film photovoltaics Faraday Discussion

4 - 6 July 2022, Bath, United Kingdom


This Faraday discussion will be a hybrid event, allowing participation both in person and online.


Join us in Bath, or online, in 2022 for this edition of the Faraday Discussion series. For over 100 years and 300 meetings, Faraday Discussions have been the forefront of advancing the chemical sciences, and many of the Discussions have become landmark meetings in their field. The unique format of the Faraday Discussions allows for in-depth discussions and opportunities to establish new collaborations.
This Discussion will focus on the next generation of inorganic thin-film solar cells based on Earth abundant non-toxic materials. The meeting is for all researchers working on inorganic materials for thin-film photovoltaics including established and early-career scientists, post-graduate students and industrial researchers. Oral and poster presentation opportunities are available to all these groups, and I invite you to submit an oral or poster abstract to make your contribution alongside leaders in the field.
On behalf of the organising committee, I look forward to welcoming you to Bath, or if you are joining us virtually, online.
David J Fermin


Faraday Discussions remain amongst the only conferences to distribute the speakers’ research papers in advance, allowing the majority of each meeting to be devoted to discussion in which all delegates can participate.  Following each meeting a written record of the discussion is published alongside the papers in the Faraday Discussions journal.

Find out more about the Faraday Discussions in the video.


The aim of the Discussion is to assess the latest developments in emergent inorganic absorbers and the extent in which we can correlate and predict device performance from structural and optical properties. The Discussion will bring together leading scientists in material design and modelling, structural and electronic characterisation, and device design and performance analysis.  We welcome contributions involving chalcogenides, pnictides and oxides, particularly those in the growing field of defect-tolerant semiconductors comprising elements such as Bi, Sn, In and Sb.
The Faraday Discussion will be organised into the following themes:
Indium-free CIGS analogues
Cu-based materials have been actively researched in the context of stable materials based on Earth-abundant elements. The so-called ‘substrate’ cell architecture underpinning CIGS technology is suitable for the deposition of a variety of Cu-based materials employing sputtering techniques and solution-based methods followed by reactive annealing. This session will consider developments in this area including absorber materials and buffer layers. One of the key objectives of the Discussion is to assess the performance gap between this class of materials and state-of-the-art CIGS cells.  

Novel chalcogenides, pnictides and defect-tolerant semiconductors
This large family of compounds includes chalcogenide perovskites and delafossites, binary chalcogenides, nitrides and halides. Our understanding of the optical and electronic properties of these materials varies considerably, while appropriate device architectures have not been established in many of these cases. This session will cover the latest developments in the area, with strong emphasis on the role of coordination, bonding and the opto-electronic properties of these materials.

Material design: structure and bonding
This session will address guiding principles for screening materials for PV applications. The discussion will mainly consider absorber materials. Other active layers such as buffer and transparent conduction oxides are also within scope.

Bulk and surface characterisation techniques of solar absorbers
This session will discuss contributions of state-of-the-art tools for characterising semiconductor materials and interfaces, including synchrotron X-ray based techniques, photoemission spectroscopy/microscopy, high resolution electron microscopy and scanning probe techniques. 

David Mitzi (Introductory lecture), Duke University, United States

David Mitzi is the Simon Family Professor at Duke University, with appointments to the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Chemistry. He received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Engineering Physics from Princeton University (1985) and his Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Stanford University (1990). Prior to joining the faculty at Duke (2014), Dr. Mitzi spent 23 years at IBM’s Watson Research Center, where his focus was on the search for and application of new electronic materials, including organic-inorganic perovskites and inorganic materials for photovoltaic, LED, transistor and memory applications. He also served as manager for the Photovoltaic Science and Technology Department, where he initiated/managed a multi-company program to develop a low-cost, high-throughput approach to deposit thin-film chalcogenide-based absorbers for high-efficiency photovoltaics. 

Aron Walsh (Closing remarks lecture), Imperial College London, United Kingdom

Aron Walsh holds the Chair of Materials Design at Imperial College London. He was awarded his PhD in Chemistry from Trinity College Dublin (Ireland), completed a postdoctoral position at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (USA). He began his independent research career at the University of Bath where he held a Royal Society University Research Fellowship. His research combines technique development and applications at the interface between solid-state chemistry and physics. He was awarded the EU-40 prize from the Materials Research Society for his work on the theory of solar energy materials, as well as the 2019 Corday-Morgan Prize for his contributions to computational chemistry. He is featured in the Clarivate Highly Cited Researchers List and is Associate Editor for Journal of the American Chemical Society covering energy materials and machine learning.

Mirjana Dimitrievska, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland

Mirjana Dimitrievska is a materials scientist at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). She obtained her PhD in physics at the University of Barcelona, Spain (2016). Afterwards, she moved to the United States where she was working as a research scientist at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). In 2020, she moved to Switzerland and joined EPFL.
Her research is focused on discovering and optimizing functional materials for solar cells and solid state battery applications. Currently at EPFL she is leading the SMARTCELL project with the aim of developing sustainable and renewable materials for ultrathin, flexible, and transparent solar cells, which can be used for everything from zero-energy buildings to smart sensors for the Internet-of-Things. In addition to her research activities, she is a promoter of science to children.
She is author of more than 60 scientific publications, has received an award for the most outstanding PhD thesis at the University of Barcelona, and Zonta Award for young woman scientist performing outstanding research in sustainable materials for renewable energy generation and storage. She is also a recipient of two Marie Curie Fellowships from European Commission.

Charlotte Platzer-Björkman, Uppsala University, Sweden

Charlotte Platzer-Björkman is professor in Solid State Electronics at the Department of materials science and engineering, Uppsala University, Sweden, since 2016. She received her PhD in 2006 from the same university, on interfaces in CIGS-based thin film solar cells with focus on atomic layer deposition and photoelectron spectroscopy. She did a post doc in the silicon solar cell group at the Institute for Energy Technology, Norway 2009 and started working with CZTS solar cells in 2010. She was awarded a Wallenberg Academy Fellowship in 2012 and is currently leading a framework research program on thin film solar cells funded by the Swedish Strategic Research Foundation. Her CZTS team has focused on two-stage, vacuum based processing of CZTS with compound and reactive sputtering of precursors. The research covers fundamental aspects of efficiency limitations from interface and bulk properties and process optimization with industry collaborations.

Byungha Shin, KAIST, South Korea

Byungha Shin is Associate Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE), Associate Vice President of Office of Student Life, and Director of Global Leadership Center at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in Daejeon, Korea. Prof. Shin received B.S. in MSE from Seoul National University in 2000, M.S. in MSE from the University of Michigan in July 2002, and Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Harvard University in 2007. From May 2007 to March 2010, he was a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of MSE at Stanford University. From May 2010 until he joined KAIST in Feb 2014, he worked at IBM T. J. Watson Research Center as a post-doctoral researcher and a Research Staff Member. He also spent seven months from Aug 2018 to Feb 2019 as a visiting Professor at Columbia University.
His past research experience includes study of thin film growth kinetics and high-k dielectric materials for microelectronic applications. His current primary research interest is developing novel materials for energy applications with the current emphasis on hybrid perovskite optoelectronic devices (PV, LED and radiation-detector), chalcogenide thin film solar cells, and photoelectrochemical water splitting and electrochemical nitrogen reduction.
He has published over 100 SCI journal papers including Science (2020) and Nature (2019), and he has given over 100 invited talks at various academic institutes and international conferences. He was a recipient of “Scientist of the Month” and “100 Outstanding Research Achievements”, both by Ministry of Science and ICT of Korean Government in 2021, “The 2020 KASTian of the Year Award” by KAIST in 2020, and “KAIST’s Top 10 Research Achievements of 2019” by KAIST in 2019.

Susanne Siebentritt, Université du Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Susanne Siebentritt is a physics professor and heads the laboratory for photovoltaics at the University of Luxembourg.

Her research interest is twofold: the electronic structure of semiconductors and thin film solar cells and the fundamental analysis of loss mechanisms in these devices. Her interest in thin film solar cells is kindled by the fact that they present the electricity source with the lowest carbon footprint.

She studied physics at the University of Erlangen and received her doctoral degree from the University of Hannover. After several postdoc positions at the University of California in Los Angeles, the Free University of Berlin and the Hahn-Meitner-Institute (now Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin), she led a group at Hahn-Meitner-Institute for nearly 10 years, which focused on the physics of chalcopyrite solar cells. In 2007 she moved to Luxembourg to establish the laboratory for photovoltaics.

She is the author of 230 peer reviewed publications. In 2014 she received the FNR Outstanding Publication Award together with three co-authors. In 2015 she was awarded the "Grand Prix en Sciences Physique – Prix Paul Wurth" of the Luxembourgish Institut Grand Ducal. She is a board member of research programmes for the energy transition by the German and by the Luxembourgish government. She serves on the editorial board of Physical Review Applied and of Solar RRL.

  • Jiang Tang Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China
  • Thomas Unold Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin, Germany

Abstract submission

Oral abstracts - now closed

A full research paper containing new unpublished results always accompanies oral presentations at Faraday Discussions. Submit an oral/paper abstract by 1 November 2021 if you wish to be considered for an oral presentation and associated published paper. The oral/paper abstract should outline current research in progress. Authors of the selected abstracts must then submit a full research paper with a significant amount of new, unpublished work by 14 February 2022.

The research papers are reviewed upon submission and are sent to all delegates 4 weeks before the meeting so they can be read in advance. At the meeting the presenting author is allowed five minutes to highlight the main points of their paper, and the rest of the time is for discussion. The discussion is recorded and will be published alongside the research paper in the Faraday Discussion volume. 

Poster abstracts - now closed

Submit your poster abstract by 9 May 2022. Posters are displayed throughout the meeting, both in-person and virtually. The Faraday Division poster prize will be awarded to the best poster presented by a student.
As this Discussion is being planned as a hybrid event we will be using a dedicated online poster platform to show all posters. Poster presenters who are attending the Discussion in-person will also need to print and display their poster physically. If your poster is accepted for this event, you will receive an email from us with further information for those attending in-person and inviting you log on to the poster platform where you will be able to upload a PDF of your poster. 

Additional information

All oral and poster abstracts will be reviewed by the committee.  Authors will be notified of the outcome of the review process within about 6 weeks of the submission deadline. The abstracts should be no longer than one A4 page in portrait layout. Please ensure you provide the details of the presenting author and indicate whether you are submitting an abstract for oral or poster presentation. 

Planning your trip

We encourage delegates who are planning to attend events in person to arrange suitable travel and accommodation insurance, which should include cover for the postponement or cancellation of travel caused by regulations and guidelines relating to Covid-19. We also recommend considering flexible travel and accommodation booking options where possible.

In-person registration includes:
  • Attendance at all scientific sessions
  • Live interaction with delegates attending virtually
  • Attendance at the poster session and access to the online poster gallery
  • Refreshments throughout the meeting and lunch on all three days
  • Attendance at the poster drinks reception on 4 July 2022
  • Attendance at the conference dinner on 5 July 2022
  • Access to all journal paper pdf “pre-prints” before the meeting
  • Access to recordings of all scientific sessions post-event
  • ***A copy of the Faraday Discussion journal volume, issued approximately 5 months after the meeting, containing all papers presented at the meeting and accompanying discussion comments.
Virtual registration includes:
  • ​Attendance at all scientific sessions via the Royal Society of Chemistry’s online conference platform
  • Live interaction with delegates attending in-person and other virtual delegates
  • Access to the virtual poster gallery and exhibitor/sponsor virtual rooms
  • Access to all journal paper pdf “pre-prints” before the meeting
  • Access to recordings of all scientific sessions post-event
  • ***A copy of the Faraday Discussion journal volume, issued approximately 5 months after the meeting, containing all papers presented at the meeting and accompanying discussion comments. 
In-person registration fees are as follows (subject to VAT at the prevailing rate):
Early bird Standard
RSC Member* £315 £365
Non-member** £415 £465
Student RSC member* £145 £195
Student non-member £175 £225
Accompanying person £100 £100

Please note accommodation is not included in the in-person registration fee.
Virtual registration fees are as follows (subject to VAT at the prevailing rate):
RSC Member* £95
Non-member** £145
Student RSC member* £45
Student non-member £65

* If you are a Royal Society of Chemistry member and wish to register for this meeting, please select the member option on the online registration page. You will need to enter your membership number.

**For non-member registrants, affiliate membership of the Royal Society of Chemistry until the end of 2023 is available, the affiliate membership application will be processed and commence once the registrant has attended the event.
***Excluding students, who can order the volume at a reduced price at the conference. 

Student delegates

In order to encourage undergraduate or postgraduate students to attend the Discussion, a reduced conference fee is available for students. This fee applies to those undertaking a full-time course for a recognised degree or a diploma at a university or equivalent institution.

A copy of the Faraday Discussion journal volume containing papers presented at the Discussion (issued approximately 5 months after the meeting) is not included in the student registration fee. Students may purchase a copy of the volume at less than half price. This discounted price is available to delegates when ordering during the registration process.  

Accompanying person

If you would like to bring a guest to the conference, this can be done during the registration process. There will be a charge of £100 which will include all lunches, refreshments and the conference dinner. The fee does not include attendance at any scientific sessions, journal paper pre-prints or the journal volume.


The Royal Society of Chemistry is keen to encourage and enable as many people as possible to attend our events, to benefit from the networking opportunities and the chance to hear talks from leaders in the field. If you would like to discuss accessibility, please contact us to discuss your requirements so that we can enable your attendance.
Book now

Terms and Conditions for Events run by the Royal Society of Chemistry

Researcher development grant

If you are an RSC member and a PhD student or postdoctoral researcher based at a higher education or research institution you are eligible to apply for a Researcher development grant.

This grant can provide up to £500 towards activities that will develop your skills and experience as a researcher, which includes participation at conferences, either in-person or virtual.

Applications are processed monthly, with the deadline for each round being the last day of the month, and decisions being sent out by the 21st of the following month. Researcher development grants can be applied for in addition to Grants for carers and Assistance grants.

Grants for carers

Grants for carers have been introduced following the Royal Society of Chemistry Breaking the barriers report where 78% of chemists working in UK academia felt that managing parenting and/or caring responsibilities has an impact on women’s retention and progression. This fund is not limited to women scientists and welcomes applications from anyone with caring responsibilities. These grants have been supported by the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Chemists’ Community Fund.

You can apply for up to a maximum of £1000/year to assist with additional financial costs that you incur for care usually provided by you whilst you attend a chemistry related meeting, conference or workshop or a professional development event.

Caring responsibilities are wide and varied, and so each application will be individually assessed, examples of applications that we will consider include:
  • paying for extra home help or nursing care for a dependent whilst you will not be present
  • additional medical/respite care for a dependent whilst you will not be present
  • travel expenses for a relative to travel with you to care for dependents whilst you attend a meeting or event
  • paying for extended hours with a care worker/childminder/play scheme to cover time when you will arrive home later than normal.
You are eligible to apply if: 
  • you are a chemist
  • you will incur additional caring expenses whilst attending a chemistry-related meeting, conference, event or workshop or a professional development event
  • you will use these funds to cover the cost of care that you usually provide 
  • you are based in the UK or Ireland or if not, you will normally have held three years RSC membership (past or current).
Sponsorship & supporting organisations
A selection of sponsorship opportunities is available for companies who would like to promote their activities at the 2022 Faraday Discussion series

There are opportunities available to become the Faraday Discussion series sponsor,  Research & Development partner or Poster prize series sponsor as well as some individual meeting options. A sponsorship menu document will be available to download from this page with more details and prices.

Please note that exhibition spaces are limited, spaces will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

If you would like more information about sponsoring the 2022 Faraday Discussion series, please contact the Commercial Sales Department at the Royal Society of Chemistry on Sponsorship Menu
Chancellors Building

Chancellors Building, University of Bath, Bath, BA2 7AY, United Kingdom

This event is a hybrid event. For those attending in-person, venue details are as below. Virtual attendance will take place via the Royal Society of Chemistry’s virtual conference platform. For details of what’s included in virtual and in-person attendance, please see the registration section.
We are actively planning to hold this event in a hybrid format. Should the event move to be held in virtual-only format, any in-person delegate registrations will be refunded for the difference between in-person and virtual registration fees.
Accommodation is not included in the registration fee.

University of Bath run an accommodation booking service, if you would like any assistance please use the link provided.

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