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Advanced Thin-Film Silicon Solar Cells

Miro Zeman
Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

Acknowledgments:
• • • Members of PVMD group at TUD Nuon Helianthos, TU/e, UU, ECN, IPV Julich, OM&T, Ljubljana University SenterNovem for financial support

Outline
Status of thin-film Si solar cell technology Improvement and technology issues Si films with suppressed degradation Photon management Helianthos project Conclusions

World of Photovoltaics
PV industry: the fastest growing industry in the world
MW
5000

Solar cell production 1999-2007 2006: 90% wafer-type c-Si technology
~3800 2536 1815 750
34% 50%
Estimation market:

4000 3000 2000

2007 Cumulative installed capacity of PV systems ~ 9200 MW Turnover (modules+BOS) ~ 15x109 €

1256
68%

40%

1000

202
0 1999

287
42%

401
40%

560
39%

45%

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

Photon International, March 2007

2006

2007

~ 70 000 jobs

World of Photovoltaics
PV industry: announced increase in capacity
45.000,0 40.000,0

Production Capacity [MW]

35.000,0 30.000,0 25.000,0 20.000,0 15.000,0 10.000,0 5.000,0 0,0 2006

Crystalline Silicon Thin Films

2007

2008

2009

2010

2012

Arnulf Jäger-Waldau, EU-PVSEC-23, Valencia, 2008

Valencia.000 2.000 [MW] 6.000 10.000 Oerlikon 4.Thin-Film Photovoltaics PV industry: announced increase in capacity 12. EU-PVSEC-23. 2008 .000 0 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2012 Arnulf Jäger-Waldau.000 silicon based CdTe CIS Dye + others Applied Materials 8.

Thin-Film Si solar cell producers EUROPE Schott Solar Thin Film (Germany) a-Si/uc-Si. a-Si/uc-Si Sontor GmbH (Q-Cells) (German) a-Si/uc-Si Sunfilm AG (Germany) a-Si/uc-Si Malibu GmbH (Germany) a-Si/uc-Si Inventux Technologies AG (Germany) a-Si/uc-Si Signet Solar (Germany) a-Si Masdar PV (Germany) a-Si/uc-Si HelioGrid (Hungary) a-Si Tandem Solar Plus (Portugal) a-Si Tandem Heliodomi (Greece) a-Si Tandem Oerlikon (Switzerland) (equipment manufacturer) a-Si/uc-Si Pramac SpA (Italy) a-Si/uc-Si T-Solar Global (Spain) a-Si/uc-Si Nuon Helianthos (The Netherlands) a-Si/uc-Si Intico Solar (Switzerland/Germany) a-Si/uc-Si Energo Solar (Hungary) (equipment manufacturer) a-Si Flexcell (Switzerland/Germany) a-Si USA United Solar Ovonic(ECD) (US) a-Si/a-SiGe/a-SiGe EPV Solar (US) a-Si Tandem Signet Solar (US) a-Si Single XsunX (US) a-Si/a-SiC Optisolar (US) a-Si Xunlight (US) a-SiGe single. Ersol Thin Film (Germany) a-Si Single. a-Si/a-SiGe/nc-Si triple Applied Materials (US) (equipment manufacturer) a-Si/uc-Si JAPAN Kaneka Solartech (Japan) a-Si/Poly-Si Sharp Thin Film (Japan) a-Si/uc-Si/a-Si GaAs Sanyo Amorton(Japan) a-Si Single MHI (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries) (Japan) a-Si/uc-Si Fuji Electric Systems (Japan) a-Si/a-SiGe .

Thin-Film Si solar cell producers CHINA Topray Solar(Shenzhen China) a-Si Tandem Soltechpv (Beijing China) a-Si Tandem Jinneng Solar (Tianjin China) a-Si Tandem Polar PV (Anhui China) a-Si Single. Tandem Trony (Shenzhen China) a-Si Single Sumoncle (Shenzhen China) a-Si Single hksolar (Harbin China) a-Si Single Xinao Group (Hebe China) a-Si Tandem Suntech (Shanghai China) a-Si/uc-Si BSTRPV (Weihan China) a-Si Tandem China Solar Power (Yantai China) a-Si Single QS Solar (Nantong China) a-Si Tandem Yuanchang (Changzhou China) a-Si Tandem Ganneng Huaji (Jiangxi China) a-Si Tandem GS Solar (Quanzhou China) a-Si Tandem Zhongshang Quanxin (Zhongshan China) a-Si Tandem Cineng PV (Hangzhou China) a-Si Tandem Shenyang Hanfeng (Shenyang China) a-Si Tandem Uni-Solar Jinneng (Tianjin China) a-Si/a-SiGe/a-SiGe TAIWAN Green Energy Technology (Taoyuan Taiwan) a-Si Single CMC (Taoyuan Taiwan) a-Si Single Yutong Light Energy (Tainan Taiwan) a-Si/uc-Si Nexpower (Central Taiwan) a-Si Single Sunner Solar (Central Taiwan) a-Si Single Formosun (Hsinchu Taiwan) a-Si Tandem Kenmos PV (Tainan Taiwan) a-Si Tandem NanoWin (Tainan Taiwan) a-Si/uc-Si Sinonar (Hsinchu Taiwan) a-Si Tandem OTHER Bangkok Solar (Thailand) a-Si Tandem SolarMorph (Singapore) a-Si/uc-Si Moser Baer Photo Voltaic (India) a-Si Single Lambda Energia (Mexico) a-Si/a-SiC In 2008 more than 60 companies .

technology & applications of EU PV Technology Platform) .Strategic Research Agenda: EU roadmap www.org Wim Sinke (ECN.eupvplatform. Leader of WG 3 : Science.

breakthrough concepts for high efficiency (η>17%) .5 solar spectrum into electricity Current developments: • • increase in TF Si solar-cell production (in 2010 ~ 8 GW capacity) complete production lines available Future developments: • • short term: optimize tandem cell long term: optimize triple cell.Thin-film Si solar cell technology Present status: + + + Promising low-cost solar cell technology Industrial production experience (Flat panel display industry) Relatively low stabilized efficiencies (η ≈6-7%) Double-junction micromorph solar cell (η>10%) • ideal combination of materials (a-Si:H/μc-Si:H) for converting AM1.

Thin-film Si solar cell technology Thin-film Si solar cells on glass Power plant Roof integration and new designs .

Thin-film Si solar cell technology Flexible thin-film Si solar cells Consumer electronics Stand-alone system Flexible module Roof integration .

5 μm) - + • Material usage strongly reduced + Intrinsic a-Si:H p-type sc Si p++ Al p++ • Energy and cost strongly reduced n-type Metal electrode c-Si (200-300 μm) a-Si:H (0.5 μm) .3-0.Thin-film Si solar cell technology Al SiO 2 Al n+ Glass superstrate TCO p-type Thin film Si (0.3 .

Thin-film Si solar cell technology Plasma Enhanced CVD electrode substrate plasma electrode heater reaction chamber + + + + Pump system Low deposition temperature Use of cheap substrates Large area deposition Easy doping and alloying Gas system rf generator – Low deposition rate (1-2 Å/s) High potential for low cost solar cells .

Increase deposition rate 4. Eliminate light-induced degradation 3. Choice of mass-production technology 5. Increase conversion efficiency 2.Thin-film Si solar cell technology issues 1. Lower material costs .

Thin-film Si solar cell technology Single-junction a-Si:H solar cells: Crucial parts of a-Si:H solar cell: Absorption of light • surface texture of the TCOs • ZnO back reflector Extraction of the charge carriers • TCO/p interface • p-type window layer • p/i hetero-junction interface • quality of the intrinsic layer First a-Si solar cell made in 1974 by David Carlson. .

Thin-film Si:H solar cell issues Degradation of a-Si solar cells 5 Current density [mA cm-2] 0 -5 -10 -15 p-i-n a -Si:H solar cell Jsc [mA/cm 2] Initial Degraded 16.74 0.8 1.69 efficiency [%] 8.4 Voltage [V] 0.0 • Creation of extra metastable defects in a-Si:H under illumination • Extra trapping and recombination centres • Initial versus stabilized efficiency .3 0.7 0.2 0.0 0.4 initial degraded -20 -0.75 Voc [V] fill factor 0.2 15.6 0.64 6.2 0.

μc-Si:H or poly c-Si New deposition techniques Hydrogen diluted silane Increasing efficiency Photon management • • • Textured substrates .Thin-film Si:H solar cells challenges Suppressing degradation Stable material • • • pc-Si:H.scattering Back reflector Novel approaches Multi-junction concept • Tandem solar cells Multi-bandgap concept • Low band-gap materials .

48 1.Efficient use of solar spectrum Suppress degradation p i aaSi Si Energy np i i n ph / m s ] Increase efficiency Photon energy [eV] 4.0 1.13 5.0 a-Si a-SiGe Photon flux [10 EF 27 0.0 2.0 2.0 300 500 700 900 1100 Wavelength [nm] 1300 1500 Multi-junction solar cell concept Multi-bandgap solar cell concept .83 AM1.13 0.95 0.38 1.77 1.5 global solar spectrum a-Si a-SiGe aSi or μc-Si 3 4.0 3.

5% (a-Si) Un.g. a-Si:H/a-SiGe:H/ uc-Si:H glass surface.Thin-film Si:H solar cell structures single-junction amorphous (a-Si:H) microcrystalline (uc-Si:H) glass surface-textured TCO double-junction micromorph a-Si:H/uc-Si:H glass surface.1% (μc-Si) Kaneka 11.textured TCO ZnO:Al a-Si:H absorber triple-junction e.7% (a-Si/ μc-Si) Kaneka 12.0% (Si/SiGe/SiGe) USSC* .textured TCO ZnO:Al a-Si:H top absorber p i n uc-Si:H layers ZnO back metal contact (Ag) surface-textured TCO interlayer a-Si Ge:H middle absorber uc-Si:H absorber ZnO Ag uc-Si:H bottom absorber Record ηst (confirmed) 9.4% (a-Si/a-SiGe) USSC* ZnO Ag 13. Neuchatel 10.

Si:H films from hydrogen diluted silane Proto-crystalline Si growth regime: • Effect of high H dilution of silane. dilution ratio R=[H2]/[SiH4] .

Si:H films from hydrogen diluted silane Proto-crystalline Si growth regime: Glass substrate .

7 eV (a-Si:H) / 1.Optimal bandgap combination -1.a-Si:H cell (0.2-0.3 μm) unstable .1 eV (μc-Si:H) .Micromorph Si tandem solar cell University of Neuchâtel (1994) a-Si:H ZnO Micro morph Spectral Response µc-Si:H a-Si:H MicroZnO morph a-Si:H/ a-Si:H µc-Si:H 400 glass 600 800 Wavelength [nm] 1000 .μc-Si:H cell (1-3 μm) stable .

00 Normalized efficiency normalized efficiency 1. 4.95 0. 2.75 0.1 1 R=0.0 mbar 10 100 1000 10000 100000 1x10 1 Illuminatino time (min) 1x10 1x10 time (minutes) 2 3 1x10 4 1x10 5 .70 0.05 1.85 0. 4.70 0 R=0 R=10 R=20 R=30 R=40 Halogen lamp.Degradation of pc-Si:H solar cells Degradation conditions: 670 nm laser.0 W.80 0.85 0. 0.90 0. 300 mW/cm2 1.75 0.0 W.00 0.7 mbar R=20.65 0.95 0.90 0.60 0.80 0. 100 mW/cm2 0.

Photon management Proper handling of incident photons which have to be trapped and absorbed in the absorber layers of a solar cell .

layers for optical matching) • Light scattering: change direction of propagation Design of surface texture (random or periodically textured surfaces) Trap photons in the absorber layer and enlarge their average path .Photon management Light trapping techniques: • Manipulation of light propagation: multiple passes Engineering of optically-active layers (back and intermediate reflectors.

Modeling of thin-film Si solar cells Optical modeling: • Increase photocurrent Understand light trapping Evaluate optical losses Design efficient light-trapping schemes Integrated optical nad electrical modeling: • Increase Voc and FF Evaluate recombination losses Design material and interface properties .

Eindhoven University of Technology. ECN.Modelling ASA (Advanced Semiconductor Analysis) program: • ASA program has continuously been developed since 1987 • Focus on amorphous semiconductors and amorphous silicon based solar cells • Extended for crystalline semiconductor materials (comparable with PC-1D) • Multi-junction solar cells with TRJ • Genpro3 optical model: combination of coherent propagation of specular light and incoherent propagation of scattered light Users: Utrecht University. Kaneka. OptiSolar . Ultradots. Kaiserslautern University. Slovak Academy of Sciences Fuji Electric. OM&T Stuttgart University. LG Electronics. University of Neuchatel. Cenimat. Iowa State University. Samsung Toledo University. Syracuse University. University of Gent. Applied Material. Tokyo Institute of Technology. University of Siegen. Helianthos bv.

Julich wet-etched ZnO:Al • Back reflector Thin ZnO layer between Si and metal AP CVD SnO2:F Wet etched ZnO:Al .Light trapping Standard techniques: • Random surface-textured substrates Asahi U-type AP CVD SnO2:F.

5 spectrom (mW/(cm um)) 140 10x 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 glass surface-textured TCO 2 cell 23. 2008 Wavelength (nm) .Light trapping State-of-the-art uc-Si:H solar cell: 180 160 di-uc-Si:H = 1 um AM 1.22 mA/cm2 p i n uc-Si:H layers ZnO back metal contact (Ag) 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1100 1200 Janez Krc.

4 TCO sub.6 i-uc-Si:H BR surface-textured TCO 0.8 p+n Rtot glass Absorption losses 0. p i n uc-Si:H layers ZnO back metal contact (Ag) 0.0 400 600 800 1000 Janez Krc. 2008 Wavelength (nm) .0 0.2 0.Light trapping State-of-the-art uc-Si:H solar cell: analysis of optical losses using modeling 1.

Apr 2008 ..0 mA/cm2 QEbot 14. λ (nm) 600 800 1000 M. Krc. Optical and electrical modeling of thin-film silicon solar cells. Zeman and J.8 Quantum Efficiency. 23 (4).Improving device performance Modelling of a-Si:H/μc-Si:H solar cells: Starting 1. J.6 QEtop 10.2 um 0.4 Rtot 2. Res.2 0.3 mA/cm2 (ZnO) 0. QE 200 nm 0. Mater.0 0.0 400 Wavelength.

Krc. Improved back reflector • back reflector with an enhanced reflectance of 98 % 4. J. Zeman . 23 (4). Res. Zeman and J. Optical and electrical modeling of thin-film silicon solar cells. Enhanced scattering parameters • ideal haze parameters H=1 • broad (Lambertian) angular distribution function (ADF) of scattered light 2. Mater. Reduced absorption in optically non-active layers • decrease absorption in the front TCO (5×) • decrease absorption in doped layers (5×) 3. Improved light in-coupling • optimized single-layer ARC coating on glass • (a) an optimized single-layer intermediate reflector (interlayer) (b) a (hypothetical) wavelength-selective interlayer • adjustment of the absorbers thickness for obtaining current matching M.Optical improvements Assumptions: 1. Apr 2008 M..

Res.8 95 0.4 0. (degrees) W a v e le n g th . J. Krc. ϕ. Apr 2008 .6 ADFT 0.2 0. Mater. Zeman and J.Optical improvements 1.0 -90 ZnO etched σrms = 60 nm Reflectance. 23 (4).. R (%) 90 85 -60 -30 0 30 60 90 80 600 700 Scattering angle.0 Lambertian 100 98 % ro u g h Z n O /A g 0. λ (n m ) 800 900 1000 1100 Lambertian angular distribution (cos) function of scattered light Improved back reflector R=98% (distributed Bragg reflectors) M. Optical and electrical modeling of thin-film silicon solar cells.

6 QEtop 15. Optical and electrical modeling of thin-film silicon solar cells. Res.2 Rtot 0. J.4 2.0 400 Wavelength.2 um 0.8 Quantum Efficiency.Improving device performance Modelling of a-Si:H/μc-Si:H solar cells: 1. Zeman and J.48 mA/cm2 (ZnO) 0. QE 200 nm 0. λ (nm) 600 800 1000 M.. Apr 2008 . Krc. 23 (4).65 mA/cm2 QEbot 16.0 Improved 0. Mater.

25 0. Apr 2008 . improved 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 H=1 Lamb. BR 98% single interl.) .50 Voltage. J. contribution to increased JSC(opt) (%) 0 Current density.45 V 0.71 Eff. 23 (4). Mater.75 1.50 0.35 V FF = 0. TCO p.BR and interlayer Develop concepts and test them M.71 15.41 mA/cm2 15. ADF top (a-Si:H) cell bottom (uc-Si:H) cell JSC = 10.8 % starting cell optically + electrically improved 0. J (mA/cm2) -2 -4 -6 -8 -10 -12 -14 -16 starting cell opt.Improving device performance Modelling of a-Si:H/μc-Si:H solar cells: 55 Rel. = 10 % 1.45 mA/cm2 VOC = 1. Res. Krc.25 1.. V (V) 5x lower abs.n ARC (sel. + el. Optical and electrical modeling of thin-film silicon solar cells.00 0. Zeman and J.Broad ADF of scattered light (H=1) .00 1.

Helianthos ECN.0 600 800 1000 Wavelength (nm) 1200 1400 0.0 100 % 1.0 600 800 1000 Wavelength (nm) 1200 1400 .4 70/140 nm 0.6 0.8 Reflectance PC_1 Reflectance 0.0 0.2 0. OM&T 1.Advanced concepts for light trapping • Wavelength-selective manipulation of reflection and transmission of light at interfaces using 1-D photonic crystals Concept of modulated 1-D photonic crystals Applied as back and intermediate reflectors 100 % • • Light-In project TUD.8 PC_2 0.6 0.4 50/100 nm 0.2 0.

Advanced concepts for light trapping • Angle-selective manipulation of light scattered at the rough interfaces using 1-D and 2-D diffraction gratings Light-In project TUD.2 ZnO:Al (40" etched) σr 110 nm -60 -30 0 30 60 90 0.4 0.8 ϕinc = 0o Asahi U-type ADFT (a. Helianthos ECN.0 P = 700 nm h = 80 nm 0.6 0.) 0. OM&T 1.0 -90 Scattering angle (ϕscatt) .u.

OM&T 9.0 8.6 7.Advanced concepts for light trapping • Angle-selective manipulation of light scattered at the rough interfaces using 1-D diffraction gratings Average efficiency of 10 best cells plotted versus groove height Light-In project TUD. Helianthos ECN.6 8.4 8.0 7.4 Asahi reference Period = 600 nm 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 Feature height (nm) .2 8.8 7.8 Average Efficiency (%) 8.

2 9. OM&T Average Efficiency (%) .8 Period = 600 nm 7. Helianthos ECN.4 8.0 8.4 9.0 7.2 8.4 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 Feature height (nm) TUD.8 8.6 2D period = 500-800 nm 7.6 Asahi reference 8.Advanced concepts for light trapping • Angle-selective manipulation of light scattered at the rough interfaces using 2-D diffraction gratings Light-In project 9.

Helianthos project • Development of low-cost roll-to-roll technology for fabrication of thin-film silicon solar modules (started in 1996) • Dutch route: Temporary superstrate solar cell concept By courtesy of Helianthos bv. .

Helianthos manufacturing sequence Al foil + TCO + a-Si:H + back contact + carrier foil .Al foil + series connect + contact wires + cutting + encapsulant .

Status Helianthos project By courtesy of Helianthos bv. Flexible a-Si:H module: ready for production Flexible lab-size tandem module Achieved: 1st generation modules Single junction a-Si:H module ηin > 7% ηst = ~6% Challenge: 2nd generation modules Tandem a-Si:H/μc-Si:H module ηin > 11% ηst = ~10% .

Summary Thin-film Si:H solar cell technology • Promising future option for large-area low-cost PV • Expected large increase in production capacity • Large scale of applications (rigid + flexible) • Modules with 10% efficiency Challenges: • Increase efficiency ηst>15% (photon management) • Development and implementation of novel ideas .