DESY News: Marie Betker wins poster prize at the Bunsen Conference 2021


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Marie Betker wins poster prize at the Bunsen Conference 2021

DESY-KTH doctoral student researches sustainable cellulose-based solar cells

Marie Betker, a PhD student at PETRA III beamline P03, has won one of the highly coveted poster prizes at the Bunsen Conference. The prestigious award was presented to her following the meeting of the German Bunsen Society, which took place in May. Marie Betker is a nanoscientist at DESY and is doing her PhD at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) Stockholm. Her topic, with which she was also able to convince the prize jury, is research into novel cellulose-based solar materials and their production in industry-compatible processes. Winning this year's poster prize includes an invitation to Marie Betker to give a talk on her research at next year´s conference.

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Marie Betker at work at the beamline P03 (photo: DESY/Christian Schmid).
In a project jointly funded by the DESY Strategy Fund and KTH, Marie Betker is producing thin layers of cellulose nanofibres, which are to serve as a sustainable substrate for flexible thin-film solar cells. For this purpose, the nanofibres are sprayed in water layer by layer on top of each other. The resulting films are transparent and characterised by very low roughness. The cellulose films can then be coated with conductive silver nanowires or light-sensitive materials, for example. To learn more about the structure of these functional films on the nanoscale, they are being studied at PETRA III and elsewhere using surface-sensitive methods. “Our goal is to produce a sustainable, lightweight and flexible solar cell,” explains Marie Betker. “To achieve this, we specifically exploit the advantageous mechanical and chemical properties of the cellulose nanofibres. Another important aspect of our work is sustainability: we are trying to replace the conventional materials with more environmentally friendly alternatives. One challenge here is to find materials that can be sprayed at the lowest possible temperatures.”

Stephan Roth, head of PETRA III beamline P03 and co-supervisor of Betkers graduation, is pleased: “The prize is a great confirmation of Marie Betker´s excellent work! It is also a nice result of our many years of excellent collaboration between KTH and DESY and gives us additional motivation to continue advancing the outstanding topic of sustainable materials and their sustainable processing for solar cells. Marie will then present the new results we are currently working on at the Bunsen Conference next year.”

The Bunsen Conference is one of the most traditional conferences in physical chemistry. Since 1894, it has been held every year at different locations by the German Bunsen Society for Physical Chemistry and brings together around 700 participants. It is a great privilege to be able to present lectures or posters at the Bunsen Conference.