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Use of Transparent Conductive Oxide Materials with Low Indices of Refraction in Amorphous Silicon-Based Solar Cell Technology

  • Scott J. Jones (a1), Joachim Doehler (a1), Tongyu Liu (a1), David Tsu (a1), Jeff Steele (a1), Rey Capangpangan (a1) and Masat Izu (a1)...


New types of transparent conductive oxides with low indices of refraction have been developed for use in optical stacks for the amorphous silicon (a-Si) solar cell and other thin film applications. The alloys are ZnO based with Si and MgF added to reduce the index of the materials through the creation of SiO2 or MgF2, with n=1.3-1.4, or the addition of voids in the materials. Alloys with 12-14% Si or Mg have indices of refraction at λ=800nm between 1.6 and 1.7. These materials are presently being used in optical stacks to enhance light scattering by Al/multi-layer/ZnO back reflectors in a-Si based solar cells to increase light absorption in the semiconductor layers and increase open circuit currents and boost device efficiencies. In contrast to Ag/ZnO back reflectors which have long term stability issues due to electromigration of Ag, these Al based back reflectors should be stable and usable in manufactured PV products. In this manuscript, structural properties for the materials will be reported as well as the performance of solar cell devices made using these new types of materials.



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1For example, Arya, R.R., Oswald, R.S., Li, Y.M., Maley, N., Jansen, K., Yang, L., Chen, L.F., Willing, F., Bennett, M.S., Morris, J. and Carlson, D.E., 1st WCPEC conference, 394 (1994).
2 Hoffman, K. and Glatfelter, T., Proc. of 1993 IEEE Photovoltaics Spec. Conf., 986 (1993).
3 Jones, S. J., Tsu, D., Liu, T., Steele, J., Capangpangan, R. and Izu, M., Proc of Mat. Res. Soc. Amorphous and Nanocrystalline Silicon Science and Tech.–2004 (edited Ganguly, , Kondo, , Schiff, , Carius, , Biswas, ) 808, 599 (2004).10.1557/PROC-808-A9.44


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