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Transparent conducting oxides for advanced photovoltaic applications


By John D. Perkins, Senior Scientist, National Renewable Energy Laboratory; David S. Ginley, Group Manager, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Transparent conducting oxides (TCOs) are a special class of materials that can simultaneously be both optically transparent and electrically conducting and, as such, are a critical component in most thin-film photovoltaics. TCOs are generally based on a limited class of metal oxide semiconductors such In2O3, ZnO and SnO2, which are transparent due to their large band gap energy and can also tolerate very high electronic doping concentrations to yield conductivities of 1000S/cm or higher. However, these thee basic TCOs alone do not meet the TCO performance needs of emerging PV and other applications.


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The third edition of Photovoltaics International was published in February 2009. In Thin films we offer Heliovolt enabling rapid printing of microscale CIGS films, and Q-Cells presents requirements for improving diffusion techniques for higher efficiency solar cells in Cell Processing. In Market Watch, we discuss how the USA Stimulus Bill will benefit you.

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