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Title: Identifying Electronic Properties Relevant to Improving the Performance and Stability of Amorphous Silicon Based Photovoltaic Cells: Final Subcontract Report, 27 November 2002--31 March 2005

Abstract

A major effort during this subcontract period has been to evaluate the microcrystalline Si material under development at United Solar Ovonics Corporation (USOC). This material is actually a hydrogenated nanocrystalline form of Si and it will be denoted in this report as nc-Si:H. Second, we continued our studies of the BP Solar high-growth samples. Third, we evaluated amorphous silicon-germanium alloys produced by the hot-wire chemical vapor deposition growth process. This method holds some potential for higher deposition rate Ge alloy materials with good electronic properties. In addition to these three major focus areas, we examined a couple of amorphous germanium (a-Ge:H) samples produced by the ECR method at Iowa State University. Our studies of the electron cyclotron resonance a-Ge:H indicated that the Iowa State a Ge:H material had quite superior electronic properties, both in terms of the drive-level capacitance profiling deduced defect densities, and the transient photocapacitance deduced Urbach energies. Also, we characterized several United Solar a Si:H samples deposited very close to the microcrystalline phase transition. These samples exhibited good electronic properties, with midgap defect densities slightly less than 1 x 1016 cm-3 in the fully light-degraded state.

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
860393
Report Number(s):
NREL/SR-520-38676
ADJ-2-30630-17; TRN: US0504907
DOE Contract Number:
AC36-99-GO10337
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Related Information: Work performed by the University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
14 SOLAR ENERGY; 36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; 43 PARTICLE ACCELERATORS; ALLOYS; CAPACITANCE; CHEMICAL VAPOR DEPOSITION; DEFECTS; DEPOSITION; ELECTRON CYCLOTRON-RESONANCE; GERMANIUM; IOWA; PERFORMANCE; PHOTOVOLTAIC CELLS; SILICON; STABILITY; TRANSIENTS; PV; MODULE; SOLAR CELL; THIN FILM; AMORPHOUS SILICON; DRIVE-LEVEL CAPACITANCE PROFILING (DLCP); MODULATED PHOTOCURRENT SPECTROSCOPY (MPS); ELECTRONIC PROPERTIES; ELECTRON CYCLOTRON RESONANCE (ECR); HOT-WIRE CHEMICAL VAPOR DEPOSITION; TRANSIENT PHOTOCAPACITANCE (TPC); Solar Energy - Photovoltaics

Citation Formats

Cohen, J. D. Identifying Electronic Properties Relevant to Improving the Performance and Stability of Amorphous Silicon Based Photovoltaic Cells: Final Subcontract Report, 27 November 2002--31 March 2005. United States: N. p., 2005. Web. doi:10.2172/860393.
Cohen, J. D. Identifying Electronic Properties Relevant to Improving the Performance and Stability of Amorphous Silicon Based Photovoltaic Cells: Final Subcontract Report, 27 November 2002--31 March 2005. United States. doi:10.2172/860393.
Cohen, J. D. Tue . "Identifying Electronic Properties Relevant to Improving the Performance and Stability of Amorphous Silicon Based Photovoltaic Cells: Final Subcontract Report, 27 November 2002--31 March 2005". United States. doi:10.2172/860393. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/860393.
@article{osti_860393,
title = {Identifying Electronic Properties Relevant to Improving the Performance and Stability of Amorphous Silicon Based Photovoltaic Cells: Final Subcontract Report, 27 November 2002--31 March 2005},
author = {Cohen, J. D.},
abstractNote = {A major effort during this subcontract period has been to evaluate the microcrystalline Si material under development at United Solar Ovonics Corporation (USOC). This material is actually a hydrogenated nanocrystalline form of Si and it will be denoted in this report as nc-Si:H. Second, we continued our studies of the BP Solar high-growth samples. Third, we evaluated amorphous silicon-germanium alloys produced by the hot-wire chemical vapor deposition growth process. This method holds some potential for higher deposition rate Ge alloy materials with good electronic properties. In addition to these three major focus areas, we examined a couple of amorphous germanium (a-Ge:H) samples produced by the ECR method at Iowa State University. Our studies of the electron cyclotron resonance a-Ge:H indicated that the Iowa State a Ge:H material had quite superior electronic properties, both in terms of the drive-level capacitance profiling deduced defect densities, and the transient photocapacitance deduced Urbach energies. Also, we characterized several United Solar a Si:H samples deposited very close to the microcrystalline phase transition. These samples exhibited good electronic properties, with midgap defect densities slightly less than 1 x 1016 cm-3 in the fully light-degraded state.},
doi = {10.2172/860393},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Tue Nov 01 00:00:00 EST 2005},
month = {Tue Nov 01 00:00:00 EST 2005}
}

Technical Report:

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  • This report describes our experimental studies which have been concentrated in roughly five areas. Specifically: (1) We have examined a?Si:H grown very close to the microcrystalline phase boundary, so-called''edge material,'' to help understand why such material is more stable with respect to light-induced degradation; (2) We have also studied the electronic properties, and degradation characteristics of mixed phase material that is mostly a?Si:H, but which contains a significant microcrystalline component; (3) We have examined the electronic properties of high deposition rate material. These studies have included both moderately high deposition rate material (up to 6/s) produced by the PECVD growthmore » method, and extremely high deposition rate material (up to 130/s) produced by the HWCVD growth method. (4) We have examined series of a-Si,Ge:H alloys from several sources. In one extensive series of studies we examined low Ge fraction alloys in an attempt to learn more about the fundamentals of degradation in general. In a couple other studies we evaluated the properties of a-Si,Ge:H alloys produced by methods we had not previously examined. (5) Finally, for three different types of samples we compared basic material properties with companion cell performance data. This was carried out in each case on series of samples for which one or more specific deposition parameters were varied systematically.« less
  • An overriding theme of the work described in this report has been the effect of partial crystallinity, or the approach to partial crystallinity, on the electronic properties of a-Si:H. This includes, of course, how degradation or the relative stability of these films is affected by the approach to, or onset of, microcrystallinity. The authors first discussed the results on a set of samples produced by dc reactive magnetron sputtering, obtained in collaboration with John Abelson's group at the University of Illinois, for which they demonstrated the existence of a small, but significant, microcrystalline component. For these films, the degradation kineticsmore » was found to be quite unusual; however, it could be well accounted for by a model that postulated two phases of degrading material. One was a-Si:H host material of good quality and the other was a more defective component associated with boundary regions near the microcrystallites. The sub-band-gap photocapacitance measurements on these films also indicated the existence of a distinct feature (a ``shoulder'' with a threshold near 1.1 eV) that signaled the presence of the microcrystalline phase. The second set of samples investigated were produced by Uni-Solar, deposited under conditions of high hydrogen dilution, very close to but just below the microcrystalline phase boundary. Here they found that the defect density following light-induced degradation decreased as the film thickness increased. Corroborating their findings with X-ray diffraction results obtained by Don Williamson on sets of similar films, the authors concluded that the films were becoming more ordered and less defective just prior to the onset of a detectable microcrystalline component. Furthermore, they found that at almost exactly the conditions that Williamson found XRD evidence for the onset of microcrystallinity, they found the appearance of the distinctive ``shoulder'' in the sub-band-gap photocapacitance spectra. Third, they investigated two sets of samples where the deposition rate had been varied to include samples grown at moderate to high rates. In one set of samples, produced at ETL, samples deposited under H{sub 2} dilution were found to exhibit extremely low deep defect densities and narrow Urbach tails, indicating films of exceptional quality. The photocapacitance spectra for these films were found to contain evidence for a small degree of microcrystallinity. In another set of samples, produced at UniSolar, they found evidence for increasing defect densities plus somewhat larger Urbach energies for the films deposited at higher rates. This is consistent with the fact that the photovoltaic device performance is significantly poorer for the higher deposition rate material. Finally, they discussed the general issue of deep defect densities in the a-Si,Ge:H alloys. They again demonstrated how well the deep defect densities in such samples from several sources could be fit using the spontaneous bond-breaking model of Martin Stutzmann. This implies that such state-of-the-art alloy films have been optimized in a quantifiable sense. They also found that the increase in deep defect density with small amounts of P and B dopants could also be reproduced reasonably well by modifying the spontaneous bond-breaking model to include the extra energy terms associated with charged defects.« less
  • This report summarizes the development and evaluation of higher-bandgap absorbers in the CIS alloy system. The major effort focused on exploring suitable absorbers with significant sulfur alloying in collaboration with Shafarman's group at the Institute of Energy Conversion. Three series of samples were examined; first, a series of quaternary CuIn(SeS)2-based devices without Ga; second, a series of devices with pentenary Cu(InGa)(SeS)2 absorbers in which the Se-to-S and In-to-Ga ratios were chosen to keep the bandgap nearly constant, near 1.52 eV. Third, based on the most-promising samples in those two series, we examined a series of devices with pentenary Cu(InGa)(SeS)2 absorbersmore » with roughly 25 at.% S/(Se+S) ratios and varying Ga fractions. We also characterized electronic properties of several wide-bandgap CuGaSe2 devices from both IEC and NREL. The electronic properties of these absorbers were examined using admittance spectroscopy, drive-level capacitance profiling, transient photocapacitance, and transient photocurrent optical spectroscopies. The sample devices whose absorbers had Ga fraction below 40 at.% and S fractions above 20 at.% but below 40% exhibited the best electronic properties and device performance.« less
  • The work carried out by the University of Oregon Under this subcontract focused on the characterization and evaluation of low-gap (a-Si,Ge:H) alloy materials and on issues related to overall stability in the mid-gap (a-SiH) materials. First, researchers characterized an extensive series of Uni-Solar a-Si,Ge:H samples using drive-level capacitance profiling and the analysis of sub-band-gap photocapacitance and photocurrent spectra. Thus, several bands of deep defect transitions were identified. Researchers were able to verify that charged defects are responsible for the different observed defect bands in device-quality a-Si,Ge:H alloy material. Second, they reported results of their measurements on a-Si,Ge:H alloy ''cathodic'' samplesmore » produced at Harvard University; these samples were found to exhibit significantly lower defect densities in the high Ge composition range (>50at.% Ge) than alloy samples produced either by conventional glow discharge of photo-chemical vapor deposition. Third, they performed voltage pulse stimulated capacitance transient measurements on a-Si:H/a-Si,Ge:H heterostructure samples to look for carrier trapping states that might be associated with this interface; they found there was a clear signature of trapped hole emission extending over long times associated specifically with the interface itself in concentrations of roughly 10{sup 11} cm{sup -2}. Fourth, researchers reported the results on several hot-wire a-Si:H samples produced with varying hydrogen levels. Their studies indicate that hot-wire-produced a-Si:H, with H levels between 2-5at.%, should lead to mid-gap devices with superior properties. Finally, they discussed some results on glow-discharge material, as well electron-cyclotron-resonance-deposited a-Si:H grown under hydrogen dilution conditions, and confirmed that, in terms of deep-defect creation, such films exhibited improved stability compared to conventional glow-discharge material.« less
  • This report describes work performed by the University of Oregon focusing on the characterization and evaluation of amorphous semiconductor materials produced by novel deposition conditions and/or methods. The results are based on a variety of junction capacitance techniques: admittance spectroscopy, transient photocapacitance (and photocurrent), and drive-level capacitance profiling. These methods allow the determination of deep defect densities and their energy distributions, Urbach bandtail energies, and, in some cases, {mu}{tau} products for hole transport. During this phase, the authors completed several tasks: (1) they carried out measurements on a-Si, Ge:H alloy samples produced at Harvard University by a cathodic glow dischargemore » process, measurement indicated a smaller value of ({mu}{tau}){sub h} for these samples than would have been expected given their lower defect densities; (2) they characterized several hot-wire a-Si:H samples produced with varying hydrogen levels, studies indicate that hot-wire-produced a-Si:H, with H levels between 2--5 at.% should lead to mid-gap devices with superior properties; (3) they reported some results on a-Si:H glow discharge material grown under hydrogen dilution conditions. Preliminary studies point to film strain as playing a primary role for the observed differences in behavior.« less