Potential of amorphous silicon for solar cells
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This paper reviews recent developments in the field of amorphous-silicon-based thin-film solar cells and discusses potentials for further improvements. Creative efforts in materials research, device physics, and process engineering have led to highly efficient solar cells based on amorphous hydrogenated silicon. Sophisticated multijunction solar cell designs make use of its unique material properties and strongly suppress light induced degradation. Texture-etching of sputtered ZnO:Al films is presented as a novel technique to design optimized light trapping schemes for silicon thin-film solar cells in both p-i-n and n-i-p device structure. Necessary efforts will be discussed to close the efficiency gap between the highest stabilized efficiencies demonstrated on lab scale and efficiencies achieved in production. In case of a-Si:H/a-Si:H stacked cells prepared on glass substrates, significant reduction of process-related losses and the development of superior TCO substrates on large areas promise distinctly higher module efficiencies. A discussion of future perspectives comprises the potential of new deposition techniques and concepts combining the advantages of amorphous and crystalline silicon thin-film solar cells.
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