Infoscience

Thesis

L'oxyde de zinc par dépôt chimique en phase vapeur comme contact électrique transparent et diffuseur de lumière pour les cellules solaires

Zinc oxide (ZnO) is a material that belongs to the family of Transparent Conductives Oxides (TCO). Its non-toxicity and the abundant availability in the Earth's crust of its components make it an ideal candidate as electrical transparent contact for thin-film amorphous and/or microcrystalline silicon solar cells. The Low-Pressure Chemical Vapour Deposition (LP-CVD) method allows one to obtain rough ZnO layers, which can effectively scatter the light that passes through them. This high scattering capacity increases the path of the light within the solar cell and therefore enhances its probability to be absorbed by the solar cell, and consequently the photogenerated current. This thesis work studies in detail the LP-CVD technology used for deposition of ZnO layers, which are employed as TCO layers for amorphous, microcrystalline and "micromorph" (microcrystalline/amorphous tandem) solar cells developped at the Institute of Microtechnology of the University of Neuchâtel. The chapter 3 is a detailed study of the growth of ZnO layers on a glass substrate. This study reveals a columnar microstructure of the ZnO layers, which are composed of large conical monocrystals. The tops of these monocrystals emerge at the surface of the ZnO layers as pyramids, which give to such layers their rough aspect and therefore their capacity of scattering the light. The two following chapters represent a study of the effect of variations in deposition parameters on the optical properties (transparency and scattering power), electrical properties (conductivity), and structural properties of ZnO layers. The deposition parameters varied thereby are the various gas flows, the substrate temperature, and the process pressure. In particular, a strong influence of the substrate temperature on the microstructure of the ZnO layers is observed. A variation of ten degrees of this deposition temperature leads to abrupt variations of the optical and electrical properties of the layers. From these various studies, a strong correlation is established, between the scattering power, the electrical properties, and the microstructure of the ZnO layers deposited by LP-CVD: The higher the pyramidal grains at the surface of the layers, the higher the scattering capacity of these layers. The larger the monocrystals within the bulk of the layers, the higher the mobility of the free electrons. This enhanced mobility leads to an increase of the conductivity of the layers. Finally, the chapter 6 of this thesis work describes the various situations where LP-CVD ZnO layers are used as transparent electrical contacts and light scattering layers in thin-film silicon solar cells. It is schown that, by incorporating ZnO layers developped in this work in the photovoltaic devices, an increase of 8% in the photogenerated current is obtained, compared to the performances of solar cells using standard commercially available TCO.

    Thèse École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne EPFL, n° 2899 (2003)
    Section de microtechnique
    Faculté des sciences et techniques de l'ingénieur
    Institut de production et robotique
    Jury: Hannes Bleuler, René Salathé, Philippe Schmid, Milan Vanecek, Robert Wieting

    Public defense: 2004-1-8

    Reference

    Record created on 2005-03-16, modified on 2016-08-08

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