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Thin films of platinum deposited by physical vapor deposition (PVD) processes such as evaporation and sputtering are used in many academic and industrial settings, for example to provide metallization when tolerance to corrosive thermal cycling is desired, or in electrocatalysis research. In this review, various practical considerations for platinum (Pt) metallization on both Si and SiO2 are placed in context with a comprehensive data review of diffusion measurements. The relevance of diffusion phenomena to the development of microstructure during deposition as well as the effect of microstructure on the properties of deposited films are discussed with respect to the Pt–Si system. Since Pt and Si readily form silicides, diffusion barriers are essential components of Pt metallization on Si, and various failure modes for diffusion barriers between Pt and Si are clarified with images obtained by electron microscopy. Adhesion layers for Pt films deposited on SiO2 are also considered.
Silicon electrodes with the columnar macroporous structure were investigated to determine the effect of variations in the columnar pore morphology on lithiation and energy storage capacity in Li-ion cells. Several variants of macroporous Si columnar electrodes were electrochemically cycled against the Li reference electrode. The changes in macro-pore size and Si wall thickness of the columnar architecture greatly affected the cyclic Li storage and discharge capacities. A strong correlation of the Li-storage capacity with the ratio of Si wall thickness to pore diameter is found to exist. Specifically, one columnar Si electrode with an optimum macroporous structure exhibited a very high reversible specific capacity of ~1250 mAh/g (total capacity 1.2 mAh/cm2) for over 200 cycles. Electron microscopy revealed that the high reversible Li-storage capacity is due to the macropores accommodating the change in volume of lithiation and providing nearly complete reconstruction of Si walls upon delithiation. The present observations can lead to practical, high-capacity, and damage-resistant Si electrodes for Li-ion batteries.
C-reactive protein (CRP) and cardiac troponin I (cTnI) biomolecules represent the earliest enzymes that appear in the blood when a cardiac injury occurs. Real-time and selective detection of these biomarkers is essential for the prediction and detection of cardiovascular diseases at an early stage. Here we report on the label-free specific detection of both proteins at picomolar concentrations using fabricated nanowire-based biosensors. We demonstrate a novel functionalization technique based on the attachment of dibenzocyclooctyne (DBCO)-linked troponin-specific aptamers to azide-functionalized silicon (Si) nanowire (NW) surface. Due to the fast and reliable immobilization of cTnI-specific aptamers and CRP-specific antibodies on the Si NWs, the fabricated devices can rapidly detect target biomolecules demonstrating high sensitivity. We confirm the attachment of proteins to the surface of Si NWs by atomic force microscopy (AFM). Moreover, we demonstrate that nanowire structures of different sizes enable the detection of biomarkers in a wide concentration range (from 1 pg/ml to 1 µg/ml), corresponding to CRP and cTnI elevation levels during the early stage of disease formation.
This study aims to create controlled fine space by electrospinning, and to develop the electrode materials for high-performance energy devices. With the popularization of mobile devices, household appliances, hybrid vehicles, electric vehicles, and the like, the use of power storage devices is expanding, and further performance improvements are required. In this study, a novel electrode material was developed by compositing Si with carbon nanofibers derived from polyacrylonitrile (PAN) by electrospinning and heat treatment. The texture and structure of the nanofibers were observed and analyzed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry (EDX) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) combined with image processing. Nano spaces were created in the CNFs and Si particles were able to be contained in the CNFs. In the second and subsequent cycles of the charge/discharge experiments of lithium ion battery (LIB) electrode made from the materials, the capacity was more than twice the theoretical capacity using graphite, and good cycle performance was obtained.
Development of high-efficiency solar cell modules and new application fields are significant for the further development of photovoltaics (PV) and creation of new clean energy infrastructure based on PV. Especially, development of PV-powered EV applications is desirable and very important for this end. This paper shows analytical results for efficiency potential of various solar cells for choosing candidates of high-efficiency solar cell modules for automobile applications. As a result of analysis, Si tandem solar cells are thought to be some of their candidates. This paper also overviews efficiency potential and recent activities of various Si tandem solar cells such as III-V/Si, II-VI/Si, chalcopyrite/Si, perovskite/Si and nanowire/Si tandem solar cells. The III-V/Si tandem solar cells are expected to have a high potential for various applications because of high efficiency with efficiencies of more than 36% for 2-junction and 42 % for 3-junction tandem solar cells under 1-sun AM1.5 G, lightweight and low-cost potential. Recent results for our 28.2 % efficiency and Sharp’s 33% mechanically stacked InGaP/GaAs/Si 3-junction solar cell are also presented. Approaches to automobile application by using III-V/Si tandem solar cells and static low concentration are presented.
This review focuses on state-of-the-art research and development in the areas of flexible and stretchable inorganic solar cells, explains the principles behind the main technologies, highlights their key applications, and discusses future challenges.
Flexible and stretchable solar cells have gained a growing attention in the last decade due to their ever-expanding range of applications from foldable electronics and robotics to wearables, transportation, and buildings. In this review, we discuss the different absorber and substrate materials in addition to the techniques that have been developed to achieve conformal and elastic inorganic solar cells which show improved efficiencies and enhanced reliabilities compared with their organic counterparts. The reviewed absorber materials range from thin films, including a-Si, copper indium gallium selenide, cadmium telluride, SiGe/III–V, and inorganic perovskite to low-dimensional and bulk materials. The development techniques are generally based on either the transfer-printing of thin cells onto various flexible substrates (e.g., metal foils, polymers, and thin glass) with or without shape engineering, the direct deposition of thin films on flexible substrates, or the etch-based corrugation technique applied on originally rigid cells. The advantages and disadvantages of each of these approaches are analyzed in terms of achieved efficiency, thermal and mechanical reliability, flexibility/stretchability, and economical sustainability.
Silicon (Si)-based materials are sought in different engineering applications including Civil, Mechanical, Chemical, Materials, Energy and Minerals engineering. Silicon and Silicon dioxide are processed extensively in the industries in granular form, for example to develop durable concrete, shock and fracture resistant materials, biological, optical, mechanical and electronic devices which offer significant advantages over existing technologies. Here we focus on the constitutive behaviour of Si-based granular materials under mechanical shearing. In the recent times, it is widely recognised in the literature that the microscopic origin of shear strength in granular assemblies are associated with their ability to establish anisotropic networks (fabrics) comprising strong-force transmitting inter-particle contacts under shear loading. Strong contacts pertain to the relatively small number of contacts carrying greater than the average normal contact force. However, information on how such fabrics evolve in Si-based assemblies under mechanical loading, and their link to bulk shear strength of such assemblies are scarce in the literature. Using discrete element method (DEM), here we present results on how Si-based granular assemblies develop shear strength and their internal fabric structures under bi-axial quasi-static compression loading. Based on the analysis, a simple constitutive relation is presented for the bulk shear strength of the Si-based assemblies relating with their internal fabric anisotropy of the heavily loaded contacts. These findings could help to develop structure-processing property relations of Si-based materials in future, which originate at the microscale.
In this work, atomic layer deposition (ALD), as a novel strategy, has been applied to deposit MgO on nano-sized porous Si (pSi) dendrites obtained by etching Al–Si alloy for LIBs. The reversible specific capacity of pSi@MgO electrode is 969.4 mA h/g after 100 cycles at 100 mA/g between 0.01 and 1.5 V, and it presents the discharge specific capacities of 1253.0, 885.5, 642.4, 366.2, and 101.4 mA h/g at 100, 500, 1000, 2000, and 5000 mA/g, respectively. What is more, it delivers a high reversible capacity of 765.1 mA h/g even at 500 mA/g after 200 cycles. The performance improvement can be attributed to the protection of the MgO layer and built-in space of porous Si for volume expansion upon cycling. These results illustrate that ALD derived coating is a powerful strategy to enhance electrical properties of anode materials with huge volume change for lithium-ion batteries.
A new deep level transient spectroscopy (DLTS) technique is described, called half-width at variable intensity analysis. This method utilizes the width and normalized intensity of a DLTS signal to determine the activation energy and capture cross section of the trap that generated the signal via a variable, kO. This constant relates the carrier emission rates giving rise to the differential capacitance signal associated with a given trap at two different temperatures: the temperature at which the maximum differential capacitance is detected, and an arbitrary temperature at which some nonzero differential capacitance signal is detected. The extracted activation energy of the detected trap center is used along with the position of the peak maximum to extract the capture cross section of the trap center.
Many novel materials are being actively considered for quantum information science and for realizing high-performance qubit operation at room temperature. It is known that deep defects in wide-band gap semiconductors can have spin states and long coherence times suitable for qubit operation. We theoretically investigate from ab-initio density functional theory (DFT) that the defect states in the hexagonal silicon carbide (4H-SiC) are potential qubit materials. The DFT supercell calculations were performed with the local-orbital and pseudopotential methods including hybrid exchange-correlation functionals. Di-vacancies in SiC supercells yielded defect levels in the gap consisting of closely spaced doublet just above the valence band edge, and higher levels in the band gap. The divacancy with a spin state of 1 is charge neutral. The divacancy is characterized by C-dangling bonds and a Si-dangling bonds. Jahn-teller distortions and formation energies as a function of the Fermi level and single photon interactions with these defect levels will be discussed. In contrast, the anti-site defects where C, Si are interchanged have high formation energies of 5.4 eV and have just a single shallow defect level close to the valence band edge, with no spin. We will compare results including the defect levels from both the electronic structure approaches.
The behavior of electron and hole transport in semiconductor materials is influenced by lattice-mismatch at the interface. It is well known that carrier scattering in a confined region is dramatically reduced. In this work, we studied the effects of coupling both the strain and confinement simultaneously. We report on the fabrication and characterization of nanoscale planar, wall-like, and wire-like Si/SiO2 structures. As the Si nanostructure dimensions were scaled down to the quantum regime by thermal oxidation of the Si, changes to the band structure and carrier effective mass were observed by both optical and electrical techniques. Transient-time response measurements were performed to examine the carrier generation and recombination behavior as a function of scaling. Signal rise times decreased for both carrier types by an order of magnitude as Si dimensions were reduced from 200 to 10 nm, meaning that the carrier velocity is increasing with smaller scale structures. This result is indicative of decreased Si bandgap energy and carrier effective mass. Photoluminescence measurements taken at 50K showed changes in the PL response peak energies, which illustrates changes in the band structure, as the Si/SiO2 dimensions are scaled.
The wafering of thin silicon substrates is done by wire sawing technology. In this work a numerical model for the investigation of microstructural mechanisms like cracking and damage evolution during the sawing process is presented. A three-dimensional finite element model representing the phase transformation properties of silicon is validated by loading curves from nano-indentation experiments. By using cohesive zone finite elements, the crack lengths as well as crack initiation depths can be quantified and compared with the experimental results in terms of the maximum depth of subsurface damage.
Large lattice and thermal expansion coefficients mismatches between III-Nitride (III N) epitaxial layers and their substrates inevitably generate defects on the interfaces. Such defects as dislocations affect the reliability, life time, and performance of photovoltaic (PV) devices. High dislocation densities in epitaxial layer generate higher v-shaped pits densities on the layer top surface that also directly affect the device performance. Therefore, using an approach such as the embedded void approach (EVA) for defects reduction in the epitaxial layers is essential. EVA relies on the generation of high densities of embedded microvoids (∼108/cm2), with ellipsoidal shapes. These tremendous number of microvoids are etched near the interface between the III N thin-film and its substrate where the dislocation densities present with higher values.
This article used a 3-D constitutive model that accounts the crystal plasticity formulas and specialized finite element (FE) formulas to model the EVA in multi-junction PV and therefore to study the effect of the embedded void approach on the defects reduction. Mesh convergence and 2-D analytical solution validation is conducted with accounting thermal stresses. Several aspect and volume ratios of the embedded microvoids are used to optimize the microvoid dimensions.
Rigorous coupled wave analysis (RCWA) simulation was used to model the absorption in periodic arrays of GaAs0.73P0.27 nanowires (NWs) on Si substrates dependent upon the diameter (D), length (L), and spacing (center-to-center distance, or pitch, P) of the NWs. Based on this study, two resonant arrangements for a top NW array sub-cell having the highest limiting short-circuit current densities (Jsc) were found to be close to D = 150 nm, P = 250 nm and D = 300 nm, P = 500 nm, both featuring the same packing density of 0.28. Even though a configuration with thinner NWs exhibited the highest Jsc = 19.46 mA/cm2, the array with D = 350 nm and P = 500 nm provided current matching with the underlying Si sub-cell with Jsc = 18.59 mA/cm2. Addition of a rear-side In0.81Ga0.19As nanowire array with D = 800 nm and P = 1000 nm was found to be suitable for current matching with the front NW sub-cell and middle Si. However, with thinner and sparser In0.81Ga0.19As NWs with D = 700 nm and P = 1000 nm, the Jsc of the bottom sub-cell was increased from 17.35 mA/cm2 to 18.76 mA/cm2 using a planar metallic back surface reflector, thus achieving a current matching with the top and middle cells.
Currently, the main material for the production of solar cells is still silicon. More than 70% of the global production of solar cells are silicon based. For solar-grade silicon production the technologies based on the reduction of silicon from organosilicon compounds are mainly used. These technologies are energy-consuming, highly explosive and unsustainable.
The present paper studies the technology of purification of metallurgical-grade silicon by vacuum-thermal and plasma-chemical treatment of silicon melt under electromagnetic stirring using numerical simulation and compares this technology with the existing ones (silane technologies and Elkem Solar silicon (ESS) production process) in terms of energy consumption, environmental safety and the process scalability.
It is shown that the proposed technology is environmentally safe, scalable and has low power consumption. The final product of this technology is multicrystalline silicon, ready for silicon wafer production.
The impact of the Al and Ge ratio in the Al-Ge pastes are investigated for fabricating the single crystalline Si1-xGex thick layers on large area Si substrates by screen-printing metallization process. From X-ray reciprocal space maps, Ge fraction in the fabricated Si1-xGex thick layers are found to increase up to 40% with increasing the Ge ratio in the Al-Ge pastes. On the other hand, the interface of the Si and Si1-xGex layers are getting winding with increasing the Ge ratio in the Al-Ge pastes. The Al-Si-Ge phase diagram indicated that uniform SiGe layer can be fabricated by adjusting the Al-Ge ratio in the pastes within the liquid phase region.
In this paper, we show a novel method to obtain small size textures usable in crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cells. SiO2-based glass microparticles are mixed with a conventional KOH-based alkaline solution for making the textures. Using this mixing method, the texture size can be drastically reduced from 10 to ≤2 µm (0.3–2 µm). In addition, the process time and c-Si loss during the texture formation are reduced from 25 to 2 min and from 20 to 2 µm, respectively. Thus, the process is applicable to c-Si with thickness down to 50 µm. High-quality passivation showing the effective minority carrier lifetimes (τeff) larger than several ms and effective antireflection coating are possible on the new textures. The process is named “microparticle-assisted texturing (MPAT) process”, and its features are also demonstrated.
Resistance switching random-access memory (ReRAM), with the ability to repeatedly modulate electrical resistance, has been highlighted as a feasible high-density memory with the potential to replace negative-AND flash memory. Such resistance modulation usually involves ion migration and filament formation, which usually lead to relatively low device reliability and yield. Resistance switching can also come from an entirely electronic origin, as in nanometallic memory, by electron trapping and detrapping. Recent research has revealed additional merits of its mechanism, which entails smart, atomic-sized floating gates that can be easily engineered in amorphous Si, oxides, and nitrides. This article addresses the basic ideas of nanometallic ReRAM, which may also be a contender for analogue computing and non-von Neumann-type computation.
Si nanoparticles and multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) were combined using the simple, inexpensive, and scalable approach involving ultrasonication and positive-pressure filtration to generate binder-free freestanding flexible Si–MWNT (Si–MW) composite paper anodes for Li-ion batteries. Through controlling the Si/carbon nanotube (CNT) weight ratio, the composite with 3:2 Si/CNT ratio exhibited the optimal balance between the high capacity of SiNPs and high conductivity and structural stabilization quality of MWNTs, leading to high rate capability as well as specific capacity and cyclability surpassing the conventional slurry-cast SiNP electrode using binder and current collector and other complicated freestanding Si/carbon composite designs. After 100 cycles, our electrode retained a capacity of 1170 mA h/g at 100 mA/g and 750 mA h/g at 500 mA/g. Moreover, a different electrolyte composition enabled a reversible capacity of 1300 mA h/g at 100 mA/g after 100 cycles. The freestanding feature of our electrodes is promising for enhanced energy density of Li-ion cells.
Hydrogenated microcrystalline Silicon-Germanium (μc-SiGe:H) thin films were deposited using the Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (PECVD) technique from a gas mixture of SiH4, GeH4, H2 and Ar at a substrate temperature of 200 ° C. The films were deposited at a pressure of 1.5 Torr, while the RF power was varied in the range of 20 W to 35 W. Structural, optical and electrical characterization was performed in the films, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) was performed in order to analyze the hydrogen bonding of silicon and germanium, while Raman spectroscopy was used in order to analyze the crystallinity of the films. Through the optical and electrical characterization of the films, parameters such as the optical band gap (Eg) and the activation energy (EA) were obtained, respectively. The conductivity of the films changed up two to orders of magnitude from dark conditions to illumination AM 1.5. Finally, the correlation between deposition RF power and the film properties is presented.