Conference paper

An Introduction To The Technology Of Thin Film Silicon Photovoltaics

Several aspects of the science and technology of thin film silicon for photovoltaic applications will be presented. The potential advantages of this technology over crystalline wafer technology will be discussed. A basic understanding of the material properties of thin film silicon layers enables to assess their potential and limitations when used in photovoltaic devices. A brief review of the production technology for thin films will be given with particular emphasis on amorphous and microcrystalline silicon. As for other photovoltaic technologies, the push for higher efficiency of thin film silicon devices is strong. An appealing feature of these materials is that they can be easily integrated in multi-junction tandem devices. For instance, stacking amorphous and microcrystalline silicon thin films in one tandem cell, the micromorph cell, increases the efficiency well above the characteristic values of single junction cells. The Institute of Microengineering (IMT) has been a pioneer in the research and development of thin film silicon photovoltaics over the last 20 years and several latest developments on are reviewed.

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