The MIB-SOLAR Center of the University of Milano-Bicocca was established in July 2010 thanks to the efforts of some members of the Department of Materials Science. The laboratories of the Center are located within the Department of Materials Science, in the north-east area of Milan.
Why was a Center for Solar Energy Needed in Our Region
The constitution of the center stems from the need to gather and organize the diverse expertise and skills in the field of materials and devices for solar energy applications currently active at the University of Milano-Bicocca. Indeed, the Department of Materials Science has been developing, in some cases over the past few decades, or in other cases in more recent times, a strong and original expertise in the field of renewable energy, with an emphasis on photovoltaics (PV). The Department right now is able to offer theoretical and experimental expertise and experience in the design, synthesis, and characterization of photovoltaic materials and devices, from crystalline silicon to last generation thin film inorganic and organic materials.
We thus felt the need to collect and organize these activities in order to give them critical mass, coordinate purchase and use of equipment, and optimize this function in terms of developing new materials and technologies for solar energy. In particular, we believed that the creation of a new center of photovoltaic technologies would boost the transition from a level mainly limited to academic research to a pre-competitive phase extended to devices and technology transfer to industry, for a successful evolution from research to market.
This need was also suggested by the fact that a center for solar energy was still absent in Lombardy, unlike many initiatives – either in advanced progress or in its initial development - started in other Italian regions (eg. Puglia, Veneto, Lazio, Piemonte, Umbria, Sicilia, etc.). Moreover, we realized that, in many cases, the high level of the scientific quality in this field in our country is not always moved to a strong technological progress, entering the market with original devices. The development of the device as a whole is otherwise very limited, requiring collaboration with other research centers, often foreigners, with obvious limitations in terms of local intellectual property. This would represent an obvious disadvantage for our universities and domestic industry so that they would be relegated to a secondary role. The support of a national research center to be able to complete the full set of all these operations might therefore look very attractive to regional or national companies.
The Center aims to fill the gap between academy and industry extending and creating activities, with the highest and competitive quality standards, that some groups of the Department of Materials Science have already begun to develop, namely fabrication and characterization of new generation photovoltaic devices. The goal is to candidate our University, through the activity of the Center, to become a reference nucleus for the local and national business community in terms of support to research, development of new materials and devices, and technology transfer. Our mission is also that of educating students and training young researchers and experts able to enter the job market possessing cutting-edge high-quality skills for the properly matching the incessant development of these emerging technologies.