The optical quantum efficiency and spectral response of p-i-n thin film amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) solar cells have been modeled using software based on optical admittance analysis. The optical constants of a-Si:H and Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) thin film layers have been measured by Variable Angle Spectroscopic Ellipsometry (VASE) and used as inputs into the optical admittance analysis program in order to model cells constructed from these films.
Amorphous silicon thin films and p-i-n assemblies have been deposited by glow discharge and reactive sputtering techniques. The optical constants of doped and intrinsic a-Si:H thin films were determined by VASE and the film thickness verified by Scanning Electron Microscopy studies. The optical constants of commercially available transparent conducting oxide (TCO) coated substrates have also been determined by VASE.
The experimental transmission spectra of p-i-n assemblies are compared with transmission spectra that have been modeled using the measured optical constants. Results of modeling different a-Si:H solar cell structures using these materials are presented, including a study of the optimal TCO layer thickness for p-i-n a-Si:H solar cells. This work shows that optical admittance modeling gives a good prediction of the optical behavior of p-i-n assemblies, but that accurate measurements of the optical constants of the component films are required in order to model effectively the optical quantum efficiency and photocurrent.