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Plasma texturing and porous Si mirrors boost thin-film Si solar efficiency

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By Hanne Degans, Scientific Editor, IMEC; Izabela Kuzma, Researcher, Solar Cell Technology Group, IMEC; Guy Beaucarne, Head in the Solar Cell Technology Group, IMEC; Jozef Poortmans, Department Director Solar & Organic, IMEC

Thin-film silicon solar cells are a potentially low-cost alternative to solar cells based on bulk silicon that are commonly used in the industry at the present time. However, a major drawback of the current epitaxial semi-industrial screen-printed cells is that they only achieve an efficiency of about 11-12%. By upgrading their efficiency, this kind of solar cell would become more attractive to the photovoltaic industry. The optimization of the front surface texture by dry texturing based on a fluorine plasma and the introduction of an intermediate porous silicon reflector at the epi/substrate interface (multiple Bragg reflector) has proven to result in an efficiency boost up to about 14%.

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The first edition of the Photovoltaics International journal, published in August 2008, was created in response to what was deemed to be a growing need for an unbiased technical publication for the solar cell and module manufacturing industry. With this in mind, the first edition of Photovoltaics International saw the commissioning of papers from a wide range of sectors, such as NREL’s overview of the CPV sector, IMEC’s thin-film efficiency gains via plasma texturing, site selection with IBM PLI, Q-Cells on silicon nitride thin films and Navigant Consulting’s market overview.

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