AVS2008 Session EN+EM+NS+PS-TuA: Photovoltaics

Tuesday, October 21, 2008 1:40 PM in 203

Tuesday Afternoon

Time Period TuA Sessions | Abstract Timeline | Topic EN Sessions | Time Periods | Topics | AVS2008 Schedule

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1:40 PM EN+EM+NS+PS-TuA-1 Thin films, Plasmas and Solar Cells
M.C.M. van de Sanden (Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands)
Solar cells, devices which can convert sunlight directly into electricity by the photovoltaic (PV) effect, is now recognized as one of the options to provide a significant fraction of the energy mix in 2050 to power the world. Presently the PV industry is booming and two important challenges lie ahead: increasing the efficiency of conversion of sunlight into electricity and obtaining the required scale in terms of the surface area produced. The latter requires high throughput processing of solar cells in all its aspects. Increasing the efficiency is scientifically attaining the most attention, but history has shown that more cost reduction can be obtained by improving processes and increasing the scale of the industry. This talk will address both challenges by discussing the role of thin film and plasma technology. Presently the solar cell market is dominated by solar cells based on crystalline silicon. In this solar cell technology, where the photo-active material is wafer based silicon, thin films still play an important role to increase efficiency by effectively passivating bulk and surface defects and enhancing light trapping in the solar cell. The high rate deposition of a-SiNx:H as passivation and anti-reflection coating, by means of the expanding thermal plasma technique, will be shortly reviewed. Possible combinations with novel concepts to convert the solar spectrum will be addressed. Recently, we also introduced plasma assisted atomic layer deposition of Al@sub 2@O@sub 3@, a high k dielectric containing a large amount of negative charge, to passivate future p-type emitters on n-type silicon based solar cells. Demonstration of improved performance of n-type solar cells using this type of passivation layer with an efficiency as high 23.2 % will be discussed. To obtain the required large scale by 2050 further improvement of thin film solar cell technology will be essential, both in terms of materials as well as in terms of processes. Apart from the need for high throughput deposition of the photo-active materials, additional thin film technologies will be needed for barrier layers on substrates to limit impurity transport, for efficient light trapping (textured surfaces and anti-reflection layers) and last but not least encapsulation layers to guarantee the lifetime of the thin film solar cell. Apart from the further development of improved materials and device concepts, process monitoring and control to improve quality and throughput becomes more and more important. I will discuss here the monitoring of high rate deposition of microcrystalline silicon by means of optical emission spectroscopy. This optical probing method also enables the in situ detection of the crystallinity of the material deposited as well as fundamental insights in the growth mechanism.
2:20 PM EN+EM+NS+PS-TuA-3 Effects of Nanostructures formed by Plasma Etching on Reflectance of Solar Cells
S.H. Ryu, C. Yang, W.J. Yoo (Sungkyunkwan University, Korea); D.-H. Kim, T. Kim (Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology, Korea)
We investigated the lithography-free plasma etching methods to modify surface of single crystalline Si which was widely used for manufacturing of solar cells. Experiments were performed using SF6/O2 gases dry etching for the purpose of reducing the reflectivity at the Si surface. Upon inductively coupled plasma etching in SF6/O2 pillar-shaped nanostructures were formed on the surface which changed to black in color. The absorption factor was estimated by measuring reflection and transmission on the surface across near UV to near IR. Before etching, reflectance of Si wafer was ~ 35% in the wavelength range of 600-1000 nm and > 50% in the wavelength range of 200-400nm, whereas it decreased to < 5% after performing SF6/O2 plasma etching. The absorption factor of Si wafer after etching was increased up to ~ 90% from 65% compared to that without etching, in the wavelength range of 600-1000 nm. Furthermore, various etching methods and conditions to suppress reflectivity in a broad spectral range were investigated for optimization of the surface property of the solar cells, ie, enhancement of solar cell efficiency. We investigated the effects of various processing parameters on surface property by changing gas ratio, bias power and etching time. The current-voltage characteristics on the surface textured solar cells showed that short circuit current (Isc) and open circuit voltage (Voc) changed sensitively depending on the surface treatment. The relation between the surface morphology and the absorption factor was analyzed.
2:40 PM EN+EM+NS+PS-TuA-4 Nanoscale Heterojunction Engineering to Grow High-Quality Ge on Si for Multijunction Solar Cells
D. Leonhardt, J. Sheng, T.E. Vandervelde (University of New Mexico); J.G. Cederberg, M.S. Carroll (Sandia National Laboratories); S.M. Han (University of New Mexico)
In an effort to reduce the manufacturing cost of multijunction solar cells, we have scaled up a process to grow low-defect-density Ge films on 2-inch-diameter Si substrates. This growth technique makes use of nanoscale heterojunction engineering to minimize the interfacial strain density. The engineered substrates may potentially replace the Ge wafers that are currently used in multijunction solar cell fabrication, if the Ge film’s bulk and surface quality can match that of the epi-ready Ge wafers. We will present results for the scaled-up process of Ge film production, including key aspects of the nucleation process and film characterization, using transmission electron microscopy and etch pit counting. Next, we present our efforts to produce a high-quality surface finish, using chemical-mechanical planarization, and method for cleaning and passivating the Ge surface. Additionally, results of GaAs film growth on our engineered substrates will be presented and compared to growth on Ge and GaAs wafers, both offcut and nominal. We find that the offcut wafers effectively eliminate anti-phase domains in the GaAs. We also observe room-temperature photoluminescence from GaAs epilayers grown on our engineered Ge/Si substrates. Lastly, future work and directions will be discussed in light of our findings.
3:00 PM EN+EM+NS+PS-TuA-5 On a New Concept of Tandem Photovoltaic Cells Based on III-V Semiconductor Materials
M. Emziane (Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, UAE); R.J. Nicholas (University of Oxford, UK)
We have investigated single-junction and double-junction photovoltaic devices using ternary and quaternary InGaAs(P) semiconductor materials. These were designed and optimized for potential applications in conventional photovoltaics, thermophotovoltaics and concentrator photovoltaics.Different bandgaps were considered for single-junctions, and various bandgap combinations were simulated for the top and bottom cells of the tandem devices where the structure comprises two single-junction cells connected back to back and separated by a middle common contact. For both single and double-junctions, the device structures were modeled and optimized as a function of the doping concentration and thickness of the active layers, and the simulations show that optimum device performance can be achieved by using relatively thin structures and low doping concentrations in the emitter and base layers. The variation of the device performance with the black-body source temperature, incident intensity and operating temperature was also simulated and discussed. Due to the split of the incident spectrum, the bottom cell response is found to be different from that expected for a single-junction cell having the same bandgap. The optimal bandgap combination that delivers the best total efficiency for the tandem device was also determined and the data discussed.
4:00 PM EN+EM+NS+PS-TuA-8 Thin Film Preparation of Chalcopyrites for Solar Cells and Fundamental Material Physics
S. Siebentritt (University of Luxembourg)
Thin film solar modules are expected to be the next generation of photovoltaics technologies. Their cost reduction potential has been estimated much higher than that of Si wafer technologies. Among the various thin film technologies solar cells based on chalcopyrite (CuInGaSe@sub 2@, CIGS) absorbers show the highest efficiencies, reaching 19.9% in the lab. These record solar cells are prepared by a high vacuum co-evaporation process that proceeds in three stages with different composition. A simplified two stage co-evaporation process is used in the first mass production of chalcopyrite solar modules. Further industrial processes are the sputter deposition of metallic precursors which are reacted in an annealing process to the semiconductor compound. Recently electrochemical deposition has appeared as a low cost approach to the precursor deposition. In all cases the knowledge on fundamental growth processes, nucleation behaviour and detailed reaction is limited. The details of the processes and their advantages and disadvantages for solar module production will be discussed. The afore mentioned deposition processes result in polycrystalline films with grain sizes of approximately 1 micrometer. For the investigation of the fundamental material physics it is necessary to obtain grain boundary free material. The lattice mismatch between CuInSe@sub 2@ and CuGaSe@sub 2@ on one side and GaAs on the other side is between 2.2 and -0.7% and allows epitaxy of chalcopyrite films on GaAs. Several methods for the epitaxy have been developed: metal organic vapour phase epitaxy (MOVPE), molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) and a hybrid sputter/evaporation process. The specifics of these processes will be briefly discussed and some results of epitaxial films will be presented.
4:40 PM EN+EM+NS+PS-TuA-10 Influence of a Single Grain Boundary on Epitaxial CuInSe@sub 2@ Film Growth
A.J. Hall, D. Hebert, A. Rockett (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
Very large multigrain copper indium diselenide (CuInSe2) films were grown on gallium arsenide (GaAs) multigrain wafers using a hybrid sputtering/effusion growth process. Scanning electrom microscopy (SEM) morphology shows excellent epitaxial grain growth on the substrate with intimate grain boundary contact. Electron backscatter diffraction analysis shows a crystal misorientation common axis and misorientation angle for a high-angle, non-twin, boundary. Atomic force microscope and transmission electron microscope images are presented which confirm the surface morphology and the atomic intimacy of the grain interface. Kelvin probe force microscopy shows that the grain-boundary has little electrical influence on the film in comparison to other features present in the crystallites. Growth of large multicrystalline or bicrystalline CuInSe2 films allows more careful study of both physical and electrical influence of grain-boundaries on film properties. Current work on the physical influence of a single boundary on film growth is discussed.
Time Period TuA Sessions | Abstract Timeline | Topic EN Sessions | Time Periods | Topics | AVS2008 Schedule