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Scalable production of silicon nanocone solar cells in integrated plasma photovoltaic nanofabrication cluster
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Huang, S., Lim, J. W. M., Chan, C. S., Xu, S., Wei, D., Guo, Y., ... & Ostrikov, K. K. (2016). Scalable production of silicon nanocone solar cells in integrated plasma photovoltaic nanofabrication cluster. Plasma Processes and Polymers, 13(1), 161-169.
Surface texturing is a method widely adopted by industries to reduce the reflective losses in photovoltaic
(PV) cells. In this work, a multi-chambered Integrated Plasma Photovoltaic Nanofabrication Cluster
facility was used to produce nanocone surface textured polycrystalline (PX) PV cells. An inductively
coupled plasma (ICP) discharge of O2 and SF6 was used to remove damage on PX p-type silicon wafers.
Following that, a mixture of H2 and Ar plasma was used to texture an anti-reflecting array of silicon
nanocones on the surface, while simultaneously forming a p-n junction. A plasma enhanced chemical
vapour deposition (PECVD) process was utilized using SiH4, CO2, N2 and H2 precursors for front and
back surface passivation for growth of SiNx:H and SiOxH thin films. Aluminium electrodes were sputtered
on using an RF magnetron sputtering facility to provide the contacts for the PV cell. Scanning electron
microscopy of textured sample surfaces revealed uniform, well defined, high aspect ratio nanocones. The
absorption spectra of the resulting surface show dramatic reductions in the reflectance of the wafers, and
external quantum efficiency measurements show improved spectral response for the 300 nm – 1100 nm
region. The resulting cells showed promising photovoltaic responses, with short circuit-currents of 36
mA/cm2, open circuit voltages of 560 mV, fill factors reaching 80% and conversion efficiencies of up to
14.8%. The feedstock gases utilized in this entire process were mostly environmentally friendly, and the
single plasma based processing cluster eliminated the need for excessive waste generated from chemicals
that would be otherwise found in commercial production lines. This work shows exciting potential in the
pursuit of fabricating low cost, environmentally friendly and highly efficient PV modules to address the
problems posed by the global energy crisis.
This is the original draft, prior to peer-review, of a manuscript published in Plasma Processes and Polymers. The published version is available online at
1612-8850 (print)
1612-8869 (online)
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