Empa is an interdisciplinary research and service institution for materials science and technology development within the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology Domain (ETH Domain). Empa's research and development activities are oriented to meeting the requirements of industry and the needs of our society, and link together applications-oriented research and the practical implementation of new ideas, science and industry, and science and society. Empa employs more than 850 staff, of which 230 are female; over 450 employees are engineers and scientists with advanced degrees. "Materials for Energy Technologies" is one of the five strategic research directions at Empa.
The Laboratory of Thin Films and Photovoltaics (TFPV) at Empa is working on thin film solar cells and materials since 1988 under the leadership of Prof. Dr. A. N. Tiwari. The photovoltaic activities are R&D on topics of industrial relevance, high efficiency thin film solar cells based on CIGS, CdTe, CZTS and other emerging semiconductors on different substrates. Important contributions of the Empa group include: world record efficiency flexible CIGS and CdTe solar cells on polymer films: 20.4% efficiency CIGS and 13.6% efficiency CdTe solar cells on polymer film with processes suitable for roll-to-roll manufacturing. Monolithically interconnected mini-modules have been developed with efficiencies close to 17% together with ETH spin-off company Flisom.