The ISE premises at Marsaxlokk were refurbished in 2015 and a state of the art centre of excellence dedicated towards photovoltaic research was created thanks to over 4.2 million euros in ERDF funding.
The current establishment consists of two state of the art research laboratories, a fully equipped classroom and extensive outdoor grounds for experiments related to the development and improvement of prototype and commercially available sustainable energy systems.
The facility is useful for research on several materials used in solar cells – such as silicon, inorganic thin films, organic solar cells as well as perovskites. Many of the instruments are also beneficial for semiconductor materials research for the microchip industry and other material science research. The laboratories are fully equipped to produce and characterise novel, thin film photovoltaic cells and existing solar cell technologies.
There are two laboratories, present at ISE The first lab comprises of several microscopes, a 3D non-contact optical profiler and an atomic force microscope for sample preparation and solar cell testing as well as a furnace room and a chemical laboratory. The second laboratory is where one can find most of the larger instruments. These range from instruments designed specifically for semiconductor material characterization such as the Laser Scattering Tomograph, a Lifetime tool and a Photoluminescence tool, instruments for thin film or surface characterization, such as an Ellipsometer, and those, which have a wide variety of uses in characterizing materials such as the FTIR. The facilities enables characterisation of semiconductor silicon wafers and other materials. In this lab we also have tools that enable us to deposit or print thin film materials (PECVD, Sputter coater, screen printer).