Comparison of silicon oxide and silicon carbide absorber materials in silicon thin-film solar cells
1 NEXT ENERGY · EWE Research Centre for Energy Technology at the University of Oldenburg, Carl-von-Ossietzky-Straße 15, 26129 Oldenburg, Germany
2 Institut für Festkörperphysik, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Helmholtzweg 3, 07743 Jena, Germany
Received: 30 September 2014
Accepted: 23 January 2015
Published online: 23 February 2015
Since solar energy conversion by photovoltaics is most efficient for photon energies at the bandgap of the absorbing material the idea of combining absorber layers with different bandgaps in a multijunction cell has become popular. In silicon thin-film photovoltaics a multijunction stack with more than two subcells requires a high bandgap amorphous silicon alloy top cell absorber to achieve an optimal bandgap combination. We address the question whether amorphous silicon carbide (a-SiC:H) or amorphous silicon oxide (a-SiO:H) is more suited for this type of top cell absorber. Our single cell results show a better performance of amorphous silicon carbide with respect to fill factor and especially open circuit voltage at equivalent Tauc bandgaps. The microstructure factor of single layers indicates less void structure in amorphous silicon carbide than in amorphous silicon oxide. Yet photoconductivity of silicon oxide films seems to be higher which could be explained by the material being not truly intrinsic. On the other hand better cell performance of amorphous silicon carbide absorber layers might be connected to better hole transport in the cell.
© Walder et al., published by EDP Sciences, 2015
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