Zinc oxide TCOs (Transparent Conductive Oxides) and polycrystalline silicon thin-films for photovoltaic applications

by Dengyuan Song

Institution: University of New South Wales
Department: Centre for Photovoltaic Engineering
Year: 2005
Keywords: Zinc oxide; polycrystalline semiconductors; silicon; thin films
Record ID: 1061538
Full text PDF: http://handle.unsw.edu.au/1959.4/29371


Transparent conductive oxides (TCOs) and polycrystalline silicon (poly-Si) thin-films are very promising for application in photovoltaics. It is extremely challenging to develop cheap TCOs and poly-Si films to make photovoltaic devices. The aim of this thesis is to study sputtered aluminum-doped ZnO TCO and poly-Si films by solid-phase crystallization (SPC) for application in low-cost photovoltaics. The investigated aspects have been (i) to develop and characterize sputtered aluminum-doped ZnO (ZnO:Al) films that can be used as a TCO material on crystalline silicon solar cells, (ii) to explore the potential of the developed ZnO:Al films for application in ZnO:Al/c-Si heterojunction solar cells, (iii) to make and characterize poly-Si thin-films on different kinds of glass substrates by SPC using electron-beam evaporated amorphous silicon (a-Si) [referred to as EVA poly-Si material (SPC of evaporated a-Si)], and (iv) to fabricate EVA poly-Si thin-film solar cells on glass and improve the energy conversion efficiency of these cells by post-crystallization treatments. The ZnO:Al work in this thesis is focused on the correlation between film characteristics and deposition parameters, such as rf sputter power (Prf), working gas pressure (Pw), and substrate temperature (Tsub), to get a clear picture of film properties in the optimized conditions for application in photovoltaic devices. Especially the laterally non-uniform film properties resulting from the laterally inhomogeneous erosion of the target material are investigated in detail. The influence of Prf, Pw and Tsub on the structural, electrical, optical and surface morphology properties of ZnO:Al films is discussed. It is found that the lateral variations of the parameters of ZnO:Al films prepared by rf magnetron sputtering can be reduced to acceptable levels by optimising the deposition parameters. ZnO:Al/c-Si heterojunction solar cells are fabricated and characterized to demonstrate the feasibility of the fabricated ZnO:Al films for application in heterojunction solar cells. In this application, expensive indium-tin oxide (ITO) is usually used. Under the standard AM1.5G spectrum (100 mW/cm2, 25 °C), the best fabricated cell shows an open-circuit voltage of 411 mV, a short-circuit current density of 30.0 mA/cm2, a fill factor of 66.7 %, and a conversion efficiency of 8.2 %. This is believed to be the highest stable efficiency ever reported for this type of cell. By means of dark forward current density-voltage-temperature (J-V-T) measurements, it is shown that the dominant current transport mechanism in the ZnO:Al/c-Si solar cells, in the intermediate forward bias voltage region, is trap-assisted multistep tunneling. EVA poly-Si thin-films are prepared on four types of glass substrates (planar and textured glass, both either bare or SiN-coated) based on evaporated Si, which is a cheaper Si deposition method than the existing technologies. The textured glass is realized by the UNSW-developed AIT process (AIT = aluminium-induced texture). The investigation is…