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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/1591

Title: Influence of seed layer morphology on the epitaxial growth of polycrystalline-silicon solar cells
Authors: Van Gestel, D.
Gordon, I.
Carnel, L.
Van Nieuwenhuysen, K.
Irigoyen, J.
Beaucarne, Guy
Poortmans, J.
Issue Date: 2006
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: THIN SOLID FILMS, 511-512. p. 35-40
Abstract: Thin-film silicon solar cells on low-cost foreign substrates could lead to a large cost reduction of photovoltaic electricity if sufficiently high efficiencies could be obtained. A possible approach is to make polycrystalline-silicon solar cells by epitaxial thickening of large-grained thin seed layers made by aluminium-induced crystallization (AIC) of silicon. Until now however, obtained efficiencies are too low to lead to the desired cost reduction. We report on the influence of the AIC seed layer morphology (grain size and presence/absence of secondary crystallites on top of the surface) on the epitaxial growth of absorber layers and on the resulting cell parameters. To increase the grain size of the seed layers, we investigated the use of a nitric acid treatment to oxidize the Al layers prior to the amorphous silicon deposition. We compared seed layers oxidized by nitric acid treatment to seed layers oxidized by a short exposure to the ambient air. The nitric acid treatment led to a larger grain size and strongly affected the structure of the secondary crystallites on most investigated samples. Removing these crystallites before epitaxial growth clearly led to larger grains and increased the open-circuit voltages (Voc) of our solar cells. Using the nitric acid treatment, absorber layers with grain diameters up to 50 μm were made, that reached efficiencies of 4.9%, with Voc values around 500 mV. However, seed layers that were made through oxidation by air exposure and had grain diameters below 12 μm led to similar Voc values and even higher efficiencies (5.3%). We believe that regions with very small grain size on the large-grained samples are responsible for the relative poor behaviour of the large-grained solar cells. Our results show that increasing the average grain size of AIC seed layers does not automatically lead to better solar cells.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/1591
DOI: 10.1016/j.tsf.2005.12.149
ISI #: 000238249000007
ISSN: 0040-6090
Category: A1
Type: Journal Contribution
Validation: ecoom, 2007
Appears in Collections: Research publications

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