Journal article

TCOs for nip thin film silicon solar cells

Substrate configuration allows for the deposition of thin film silicon (Si) solar cells on non-transparent substrates such as plastic sheets or metallic foils. In this work, we develop processes compatible with low Tg plastics. The amorphous Si (a-Si:H) and microcrystalline Si (µc-Si:H) films are deposited by plasma enhanced chemical vapour deposition, at very high excitation frequencies (VHF-PECVD). We investigate the optical behaviour of single and triple junction devices prepared with different back and front contacts. The back contact consists either of a 2D periodic grid with moderate slope, or of low pressure CVD (LP-CVD) ZnO with random pyramids of various sizes. The front contacts are either a 70 nm thick, nominally flat ITO or a rough 2 µm thick LP-CVD ZnO. We observe that, for a-Si:H, the cell performance depends critically on the combination of thin flat or thick rough front TCOs and the back contact. Indeed, for a-Si:H, a thick LP-CVD ZnO front contact provides more light trapping on the 2D periodic substrate. Then, we investigate the influence of the thick and thin TCOs in conjunction with thick absorbers (µc-Si:H). Because of the different nature of the optical systems (thick against thin absorber layer), the antireflection effect of ITO becomes more effective and the structure with the flat TCO provides as much light trapping as the rough LP-CVD ZnO. Finally, the conformality of the layers is investigated and guidelines are given to understand the effectiveness of the light trapping in devices deposited on periodic gratings

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