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Controlling the quality of nanocrystalline silicon made by hot-wire chemical vapor deposition by using a reverse H2 profiling technique

By H. B. T. Li, R.H. Franken, R.L. Stolk, C.H.M. van der Werf, J.K. Rath and R.E.I. Schropp


Hydrogen profiling, i.e., decreasing the H2 dilution during deposition, is a well-known technique to maintain a proper crystalline ratio of the nanocrystalline (nc-Si:H) absorber layers of plasma-enhanced chemical vapor-deposited (PECVD) thin film solar cells. With this technique a large increase in the energy conversion efficiency is obtained. Compared to PECVD, the unique characteristics of hot-wire CVD (HWCVD), such as the catalytic reactions, the absence of ion bombardment, the substrate heating by the filaments and filament aging effects, necessitate a different strategy for material and device optimization. We report in this paper the results of using a reverse H2 profiling technique, i.e., increasing the H2 dilution of silane instead of decreasing it, to improve the quality of HWCVD intrinsic nc-Si:H and the performance of this material in single junction n-i-p cells. Thus far, the efficiency of nc-Si:H n-i-p cells made on a stainless steel substrate with an Ag/ZnO textured back reflector has been improved to 8.5%, and the efficiency of triple junction solar cells with a structure of proto-Si:H(HWCVD) top cell/proto-SiGe:H (PECVD) middle cell/nc-Si:H (HWCVD, with reverse H2 profiling) bottom cell has reached 10.9%. These efficiency values show the viability of n-i-p cells comprising HWCVD nanocrystalline i-layers

Year: 2008
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