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Atmospheric pressure chemical vapour deposition of 3C-SiC for silicon thin-film solar cells on various substrates

: Schillinger, K.; Janz, S.; Reber, S.


Journal of nanoscience and nanotechnology 11 (2011), Nr.9, S.8108-8113
ISSN: 1533-4880
Fraunhofer ISE ()
Materialien - Solarzellen und Technologie; Silicium-Photovoltaik; Silicium-Photovoltaik; Kristalline Silicium-Dünnschichtsolarzellen; Kristalline Silicium- Dünnschichtsolarzellen

The production of crystalline silicon thin-film solar cells on cost effective ceramic substrates depends on a highly reliable diffusion barrier to separate the light absorbing layers from the substrate. Ideally this intermediate layer should be deposited with cost effective techniques, be conductive and should feature optical confinement. Furthermore the intermediate layer should withstand high temperatures and harsh chemical environments like they occur during solar cell processing. Especially stability against oxidizing solvents like HNO(3) or inactivity during e.g., oxide removing steps with HF is required. Crystalline silicon carbide (c-SiC) deposited by atmospheric pressure chemical vapour deposition (APCVD) can match all those requirements and additionally fits the thermal properties of crystalline silicon. The c-SiC intermediate layer is deposited from methyltrichlorosilane (MTS) and H(2) at 1100 degrees C. Under these conditions, growth of solely cubic 30-SiC could be observed by X-ray diffraction measurements. Use of such intermediate layers during high temperature steps prevents diffusion of transition metals, originating from the substrates, into active silicon layers. Doping of these 3C-SiC layers with nitrogen results in specific resistivity of less than 100 Omega cm. The different potentially cost-effective substrates are made from graphite, crystalline silicon, sintered silicon carbide and sintered zircon (ZrSiO(4)). Surface properties of the coated substrates were investigated, explaining changes in surface roughness and influences on the solar cell processing.