Regular paper

Applied Physics A

, Volume 69, Issue 2, pp 187-194

First online:

Crystalline Si thin-film solar cells: a review

  • R.B. BergmannAffiliated withInstitute of Physical Electronics, University of Stuttgart, Pfaffenwaldring 47, D-70569 Stuttgart, Germany (Fax: +49-711/685-7143, E-mail:

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The present review summarizes the results of research efforts in the field of crystalline silicon thin-film solar cells on foreign substrates. The large number of competing approaches can be broadly classified according to the grain size of the crystalline Si films and the doping of the crystalline absorber. Currently, solar cells based on microcrystalline Si films on glass with an intrinsic or moderately doped absorber film achieve efficiencies around 10%, whereas thin-film cells fabricated from large-grained polycrystalline Si on high-temperature-resistant substrates have efficiencies in the range of 15%. The paper discusses the limitations of various approaches and describes recent developments in the area of thin, monocrystalline Si films that may open the way towards 20% efficient thin-film Si solar cells.

PACS: 73.40.Lq; 73.50.Gr; 84.60.It