Journal article

Limiting factors in the fabrication of microcrystalline silicon solar cells and microcrystalline/amorphous (‘micromorph’) tandems

This contribution presents the status of amorphous and microcrystalline silicon solar cells on glass, and discusses some material/fabrication factors that presently limit their conversion efficiency. Particular attention is focused on recent results and developments at the Institute of Microtechnology (IMT) in Neuchaˆ tel. The performances and stability of microcrystalline silicon single-junction and amorphous/microcrystalline (‘micromorph’) tandem solar cells are discussed, as a function of material properties. Recent results on the electrical effect of cracks in microcrystalline silicon material are presented. Degradation under the effect of illumination is a well- known limiting factor for amorphous silicon solar cells. As a comparison, studies on the stability of microcrystalline silicon with respect to light-induced degradation are commented upon. The importance of transparent contacts and anti-reflection layers for achieving low electrical and optical losses is discussed. Finally, efforts towards industrialization of micromorph tandem solar cells are highlighted, specifically (i) the development and implementation of an in situ intermediate reflector in a large-area industrial deposition system, and (ii) recent achievements in increasing the growth rate of microcrystalline silicon.

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