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On the Way Towards High Efficiency Thin Film Silicon Solar Cells by the “Micromorph” Concept

  • J. Meier (a1), P. Torres (a1), R. Platz (a1), S. Dubail (a1), U. Kroll (a1), J. A. Anna Selvan (a1), N. Pellaton Vaucher (a1), Ch. Hof (a1), D. Fischer (a1), H. Keppner (a1), A. Shah (a1), K. -D. Ufert (a2), P. Giannoulès (a3) and J Koehler (a4)...

Abstract

Recently the authors have demonstrated that compensated or “midgap” intrinsic hydrogenated microcrystalline silicon (μc-Si:H), as deposited by the Very High Frequency Glow Discharge (VHF-GD) technique, can be used as active layer in p-i-n solar cells. Compared to amorphous silicon (a-Si:H), μc-Si:H was found to have a significantly lower energy bandgap of around 1 eV. The combination of both materials (two absorbers with different gap energies) leads to a “real” tandem cell structure, which was called the “micromorph” cell. Micromorph cells can make better use of the sun's spectrum in contrast to conventional double-stacked a-Si:H / a-Si:H tandems.

The present study will show that the compensation technique (involving boron “microdoping”) used sofar for obtaining midgap μc-Si:H can be replaced by the application of a gas purifier. The use of this gas purifier has a beneficial influence on the transport properties of undoped intrinsic μc-Si:H. By this procedure, increased cell efficiencies in both, single microcrystalline silicon p-i-n as well as micromorph cells could be obtained. In the first case 7.7 % stable, and in the second case 13.1% initial efficiency could be achieved under AM1.5 conditions. Preliminary light-soaking experiments performed on the tandem cells indicate that microcrystalline silicon could contribute to an enhancement of the stable efficiency performance. Micromorph cell manufacturing is fully compatible to a-Si:H technology; however, its deposition rate is still too low. With further increase of the rate, a similar cost reduction potential like in a-Si:H technology can be extrapolated.

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