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Hydrogenated microcrystalline silicon growth by very high frequency plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition is investigated in an industrial-type parallel plate R&D KAI (TM) reactor to study the influence of pressure and silane depletion on material quality. Single junction solar cells with intrinsic layers prepared at high pressures and in high silane depletion conditions exhibit remarkable improvements, reaching 8.2% efficiency. Further analyses show that better cell performances are linked to a significant reduction of the bulk defect density in intrinsic layers. These results can be partly attributed to lower ion bombardment energies due to higher pressures and silane depletion conditions, improving the microcrystalline material quality. Layer amorphization with increasing power density is observed at low pressure and in low silane depletion conditions. A simple model for the average ion energy shows that ion energy estimates are consistent with the amorphization process observed experimentally. Finally, the material quality of a novel regime for high rate deposition is reviewed on the basis of these findings