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Research Open Science Open Research Award

Winner 2021 - SIMsalabim: An open-source drift-diffusion simulator for semiconductor devices

Jan Anton Koster, Marten Koopmans

Open Research objectives

We address:

  • Making the outputs of research, including publications, data, software and other research materials freely accessible.
  • Using online tools and services to increase the transparency of research processes and methodologies.
  • Making scientific research more reproducible by increasing the amount and quality of information placed on the public record.


In the field of emerging photovoltaics there are quite a few researchers who attempt to write simulation software from scratch. This represents a massive time investment which, in turn, makes that such codes are carefully guarded secrets. Quite the opposite from open-science.

SIMsalabim: An open-source drift-diffusion simulator for semiconductor devices
SIMsalabim: An open-source drift-diffusion simulator for semiconductor devices


We have been developing and using this code for a long time. At some point we decided to make it open-source in order to achieve three objectives: Firstly, to increase the number of users of the code. This can also be achieved by making it free-ware. However, in order to persuade others to use and thus trust the code, it is helpful that anyone can see the code. This is our second objective: transparency. All too often is the description of a numerical simulation in an academic publication no more than a few lines in the methods section. However, details matter and it should be clear what is actually being calculated in order to appreciate—or replicate!—the results. Lastly, at some point, there may even be other researchers who would like to contribute to the code itself.

Lessons learned

  1. Choosing the right licencing model is not easy and it matters. Make sure you get it right.
  2. Making software open-source is an excellent opportunity to improve the code and its documentation.

URLs, references and further information

Last modified:16 September 2022 08.31 a.m.