State-of-the-art mid-frequency sputtered ZnO films for thin film silicon solar cells and modules
This article reports on the use of ZnO films in silicon thin film p-i-n solar cells and modules. It summarizes the status in the final phase of a joint research project aiming at the development of high-quality ZnO/glass substrates feasible for an industrial solar module production. The samples were prepared by reactive mid-frequency (mf) sputtering on large area (60×100 cm2) glass sheets using low-cost metallic Zn:Al targets. These ZnO films exhibit resistivities down to 2.6×10-4 cm and high optical transmittance. Variation of the sputter pressure leads to films with significantly differing etching behavior in diluted acids. ZnO layers prepared in the high pressure regime develop strongly textured light scattering surfaces after etching, which is necessary to obtain highly efficient solar cells. Initial efficiencies of small area amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) cells on texture-etched ZnO-films prepared by mf-sputtering on 60×100 cm2 soda-lime glass (3 mm thick) range from 8 to 9% (highest efficiency 9.2%, i-layer thickness 350 nm). First 0.6 m2 modules on ZnO prove the principal applicability of the films for an industrial manufacturing process.