Recovery Act : Near-Single-Crystalline Photovoltaic Thin Films on Polycrystalline, Flexible Substrates

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III-V photovoltaics have exhibited efficiencies above 40%, but have found only a limited use because of the high cost of single crystal substrates. At the other end of the spectrum, polycrystalline and amorphous thin film solar cells offer the advantage of low-cost fabrication, but have not yielded high efficiencies. Our program is based on single-crystalline-like thin film photovoltaics on polycrystalline substrates using biaxially-textured templates made by Ion Beam-Assisted Deposition (IBAD). MgO templates made by IBAD on flexible metal substrate have been successfully used for epitaxial growth of germanium films. In spite of a 4.5% lattice mismatch, heteroepitaxial growth of Ge ... continued below

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Selvamanickam, Venkat & Freundlich, Alex November 29, 2010.

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III-V photovoltaics have exhibited efficiencies above 40%, but have found only a limited use because of the high cost of single crystal substrates. At the other end of the spectrum, polycrystalline and amorphous thin film solar cells offer the advantage of low-cost fabrication, but have not yielded high efficiencies. Our program is based on single-crystalline-like thin film photovoltaics on polycrystalline substrates using biaxially-textured templates made by Ion Beam-Assisted Deposition (IBAD). MgO templates made by IBAD on flexible metal substrate have been successfully used for epitaxial growth of germanium films. In spite of a 4.5% lattice mismatch, heteroepitaxial growth of Ge was achieved on CeO2 that was grown on IBAD MgO template. Room temperature optical bandgap of the Ge films was identified at 0.67 eV indicating minimal residual strain. Refraction index and extinction coefficient values of the Ge films were found to match well with that measured from a reference Ge single crystal. GaAs has been successfully grown epitaxially on Ge on metal substrate by molecular beam epitaxy. RHEED patterns indicate self annihilation of antiphase boundaries and the growth of a single domain GaAs. The GaAs is found to exhibit strong photoluminescence signal and, an existence of a relatively narrow (FWHM~20 meV) band-edge excitons measured in this film indicates a good optoelectronic quality of deposited GaAs. While excellent epitaxial growth has been achieved in GaAs on flexible metal substrates, the defect density of the films as measured by High Resolution X-ray Diffraction and etch pit experiments showed a high value of 5 * 10^8 per cm^2. Cross sectional transmission electron microscopy of the multilayer architecture showed concentration of threading dislocations near the germanium-ceria interface. The defect density was found decrease as the Ge films were made thicker. The defects appear to originate from the MgO layer presumably because of large lattice mismatches between the various layers. The defect density in GaAs was reduced by a factor of five by adding a step of in-situ deposition of Ge by MBE on the sputtered Ge prior to GaAs growth. We have investigated device design strategies that would support development of high-efficiency devices in presence of dislocation densities of 10^8 cm^-2 present in our epitaxial GaAs films. Results from modeling work show that with a proper emitter, base and doping selection, the modeled efficiency of a GaAs cells with dislocation densities of 10^9 and 10^8 cm^-2 could be increased from 1% and 7% to 11% and 17% respectively. Under AM0, this single junction GaAs solar cell, has optimized value of emitter and base thickness of around 0.7 and 1.7 microns respectively, to give a maximum efficiency of 24.2%. We have fabricated complete GaAs solar cells using our Ge films on metal substrates. Pattern resolution of few microns with well-defined grid line of 30 microns has been realized on few cm square flexible templates. The ability to grow single-crystalline-like Ge films on flexible, polycrystalline substrates by reel-to-reel tape processing now provides an immense potential to fabricate high quality III-V photovoltaics on flexible, inexpensive substrates.

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  • Report No.: DOE/EE0000578-1
  • Grant Number: EE0000578
  • DOI: 10.2172/993422 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 993422
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc1015995

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  • November 29, 2010

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  • Oct. 14, 2017, 8:36 a.m.

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Selvamanickam, Venkat & Freundlich, Alex. Recovery Act : Near-Single-Crystalline Photovoltaic Thin Films on Polycrystalline, Flexible Substrates, report, November 29, 2010; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1015995/: accessed December 15, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.