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Silicon nanowire solar cells with μc-Si˸H absorbers for tandem radial junction devices

Abstract : In this thesis, we have fabricated silicon nanowire (SiNW) radial junction solar cells with hydrogenated microcrystalline silicon (μc-Si:H) as the absorber via low-temperature plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD). To control the density of NW on the substrates, we have used commercially available tin dioxide (SnO₂) nanoparticles (NPs) with an average diameter of 55 nm as the precursor of Sn catalyst for the growth of SiNWs. The distribution of SnO₂ NPs on the substrate has been controlled by centrifugation and the dilution of the SnO₂ colloid, combined with the functionalization of the substrate. Subsequently, SnO₂ is reduced to metallic Sn after the H₂ plasma treatment, followed by the plasma-assisted vapor-liquid-solid (VLS) growth of SiNWs upon which the P, I and N layers constituting the radial junction solar cells are deposited. We have achieved a high yield growth of SiNWs up to 70% with a very wide range of NW density, from 10⁶ to 10⁹ /cm². As an additional approach of controlling the density of SiNWs we have used evaporated Sn as the precursor of Sn catalyst. We have studied the effect of the thickness of evaporated Sn, the effect of duration of H₂ plasma treatment and the effect of H₂ gas flow rate in the plasma, on the density of SiNWs.In-situ spectroscopic ellipsometry (SE) was used for monitoring the growth of SiNWs and the deposition of the layers of μc-Si:H on SiNWs. Combining in-situ SE and SEM results, a relationship between the intensity of SE signal and the length and the density of SiNWs during the growth was demonstrated, which allows to estimate the density and the length of SiNWs during the growth. We have carried out a systematic study of materials (intrinsic, p-type,n-type µc-Si:H and µcSiOx:H doped layers) and solar cells obtained in two plasma reactors named “PLASFIL” and “ARCAM”. The thicknesses of coating on the flat substrate and on the SiNWs have been determined with a linear relation which helps to design a conformal coating on SiNWs for each layer with an optimal thickness. The parameters of the SiNWs and the materials, affecting the performance of radial junction solar cells, have been systematically studied, the main ones being the length and the density of SiNWs, the thickness of intrinsic layer of μc-Si:H on SiNWs, the use of the hydrogenated microcrystalline silicon oxide (μc-SiOx:H) and the back reflector Ag. Finally, with the optimized silicon nanowire radial junction solar cells using the μc-Si:H as the absorber we have achieved an energy conversion efficiency of 4.13 % with Voc = 0.41 V, Jsc = 14.4 mA/cm² and FF = 69.7%. This performance is more than 40 % better than the previous published record efficiency of 2.9 %.
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Letian Dai. Silicon nanowire solar cells with μc-Si˸H absorbers for tandem radial junction devices. Materials Science [cond-mat.mtrl-sci]. Université Paris Saclay (COmUE), 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019SACLS303⟩. ⟨tel-02927775⟩

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