Lasers for clean energy

The most important source of energy on Earth is sunlight. Its interaction with matter drives life in a number of important processes, not the least of which, photosynthesis. The interaction of light with matter has been the basis for the development by humans of various devices that aim at exploiting sun light, converting it into electricity via photovoltaics or into chemical energy (e.g. hydrogen production) via photocatalysis. Photovoltaics and photocatalysis are nowadays very intense areas of research with the development and synthesis of new, cheap materials (organic conductors, perovskites, etc.), and the characterization of the fundamental light-induced phenomena within these is essential for their use in applications. Laser light can also be used to process and grow new materials with structures, morphologies, etc., that are optimized for energy conversion purposes.

Laserlab-Europe is at the forefront of clean energy research as its members are involved in materials processing, characterization and device fabrication for energy conversion purposes. Several labs have world-unique capabilities for fundamental studies, while others in laser processing of materials. This places Laserlab-Europe in a unique position to lead efforts involving photons for clean energy.

The expert group comprises more than 20 groups in Laserlab-Europe AISBL with strong common research interests and expertise in the use of ultrafast lasers for both processing and characterization of materials to be used for clean energy production and storage. Our common interest in the development new materials to be employed in devices to produce and store clean energy will strengthen our focused efforts towards the organization of joint activities.