In the past, microcrystalline silicon (μc-Si:H) has been successfully used as active semiconductor in entirely μc-Si:H p-i-n solar cells and a new type of tandem solar cell, called the “micromorph” cell, was introduced . Micromorph cells consist of an amorphous silicon top cell and a microcrystalline bottom cell. In the paper a micromorph cell with a stable efficiency of 10.7 % (confirmed by ISE Freiburg) is reported.
Among sofar existing crystalline silicon-based solar cell manufacturing techniques, the application of microcrystalline silicon is a new promising way towards implementing thin-film silicon solar cells with a low temperature deposition. Microcrystalline silicon can, indeed, be deposited at temperatures as low as 220°C; hence, the way is here open to use cheap substrates as, e.g. plastic or glass. In the present paper, the development of single and tandem cells containing microcrystalline silicon is reviewed. As stated in previous publications, microcrystalline silicon technique has at present a severe drawback that has yet to be overcome: Its deposition rate for solar-grade material is about 2Å/s; in a more recent case 4.3 Å/s  could be obtained. In the present paper, using suitable mixtures of silane, hydrogen and argon, deposition rates of 9.4 Å/s are presented. Thereby the dominating plasma mechanism and the basic properties of resulting layers are described in detail. A first entirely microcrystalline cell deposited at 8.7 Å/s has an efficiency of 3.15%.