Realization of high efficiency micromorph tandem silicon solar cells on glass and plastic substrates: Issues and potential
High conversion efficiency for (amorphous/microcrystalline) "micromorph" tandem solar cells requires both a dedicated light management, to keep the absorber layers as thin as possible, and optimized growth conditions of the microcrystalline silicon (μc-Si:H) material. Efficient light trapping is achieved here by use of textured front and back contacts as well as by implementing an intermediate reflecting layer (IRL) between the individual cells of the tandem. This paper discusses the latest developments of IRLs at IMT Neuchtel: SiOx based for micromorphs on glass and ZnO based IRLs for micromorphs on flexible substrates were successfully incorporated in micromorph tandem cells leading to high, matched, current above 13.8 mA/cm2 for pin tandems. In nip configuration, asymmetric intermediate reflectors were employed to achieve currents of up to 12.5 mA/cm2. On glass substrates, initial and stabilized efficiencies exceeding 13% and 11%, respectively, were thus obtained on 1 cm2 cells, while on plastic foils with imprinted gratings, 11.2% initial and 9.8% stable efficiency could be reached. Recent progress on the development of effective front and back contacts will be described as well. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.