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Study of photoluminescence from amorphous and crystalline silicon nanoparticles synthesized using a non-thermal plasma

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High photoluminescence (PL) quantum yields reported from amorphous (a-Si) and crystalline (c-Si) nanoparticles have opened up lots of possibilities for use of silicon in optical applications such as light emitting diodes (LEDs), photonics and solar cells with added processing and

High photoluminescence (PL) quantum yields reported from amorphous (a-Si) and crystalline (c-Si) nanoparticles have opened up lots of possibilities for use of silicon in optical applications such as light emitting diodes (LEDs), photonics and solar cells with added processing and cost benefits. However, the PL response and the mechanisms behind it are highly dependent on the matrix in which the nanoparticles are grown and on the growth method. While, the bottom-up approach for deposition of free standing nanoparticles seem to be perfectly suited for large area deposition for LED and solar cell applications, the dominant growth techniques (laser ablation and pyrolysis) have been shown to suffer from limitations in control over size distribution of nanoparticles and the requirement of equipment capable of withstanding high temperature. This led to the exploration of plasma based synthesis methods in this work.

Towards this effort, the development and automation of a novel tool “Anny” for synthesis of silicon nanoparticles using non-thermal plasma chamber is reported. These nanoparticles are then accelerated due to choked flow through a nozzle leading to substrate independent deposition. The nanoparticle properties are characterized against precursor gas flow rates and RF power to identify the optimum growth conditions for a stable, continuous deposition. It is found that amorphous nanoparticles offer a wide variety of chamber conditions for growth with a high throughput, stable plasma for continuous, long term operations.

The quantum confinement model for crystalline and spatial confinement models for amorphous nanoparticles in our size regime (6-8nm) are suggested for free standing nanoparticles and we report a high PL output from well passivated amorphous nanoparticles.

The PL output and its dependence on stability of surface hydrogen passivation is explored using Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). It is shown that the amorphous nanoparticles have a better and more stable passivation compared to crystalline nanoparticles grown under similar conditions. Hence, we show a-Si nanoparticles as exciting alternatives for optical applications to c-Si nanoparticles.

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Date Created
2015

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Optimization of monocrystalline MgxCd1-xTe/MgyCd1-yTe double-heterostructure solar cells

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Polycrystalline CdS/CdTe solar cells continue to dominate the thin-film photovoltaics industry with an achieved record efficiency of over 22% demonstrated by First Solar, yet monocrystalline CdTe devices have received considerably less attention over the years. Monocrystalline CdTe double-heterostructure solar cells

Polycrystalline CdS/CdTe solar cells continue to dominate the thin-film photovoltaics industry with an achieved record efficiency of over 22% demonstrated by First Solar, yet monocrystalline CdTe devices have received considerably less attention over the years. Monocrystalline CdTe double-heterostructure solar cells show great promise with respect to addressing the problem of low Voc with the passing of the 1 V benchmark. Rapid progress has been made in driving the efficiency in these devices ever closer to the record presently held by polycrystalline thin-films. This achievement is primarily due to the utilization of a remote p-n heterojunction in which the heavily doped contact materials, which are so problematic in terms of increasing non-radiative recombination inside the absorber, are moved outside of the CdTe double heterostructure with two MgyCd1-yTe barrier layers to provide confinement and passivation at the CdTe surfaces. Using this design, the pursuit and demonstration of efficiencies beyond 20% in CdTe solar cells is reported through the study and optimization of the structure barriers, contacts layers, and optical design. Further development of a wider bandgap MgxCd1-xTe solar cell based on the same design is included with the intention of applying this knowledge to the development of a tandem solar cell constructed on a silicon subcell. The exploration of different hole-contact materials—ZnTe, CuZnS, and a-Si:H—and their optimization is presented throughout the work. Devices utilizing a-Si:H hole contacts exhibit open-circuit voltages of up to 1.11 V, a maximum total-area efficiency of 18.5% measured under AM1.5G, and an active-area efficiency of 20.3% for CdTe absorber based devices. The achievement of voltages beyond 1.1V while still maintaining relatively high fill factors with no rollover, either before or after open-circuit, is a promising indicator that this approach can result in devices surpassing the 22% record set by polycrystalline designs. MgxCd1-xTe absorber based devices have been demonstrated with open-circuit voltages of up to 1.176 V and a maximum active-area efficiency of 11.2%. A discussion of the various loss mechanisms present within these devices, both optical and electrical, concludes with the presentation of a series of potential design changes meant to address these issues.

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Date Created
2017

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The Influence of Water Content and Water Dose on Adhesion of Solar Module Interfaces

Description

Delamination of solar module interfaces often occurs in field-tested solar modules after decades of service due to environmental stressors such as humidity. In the presence of water, the interfaces between the encapsulant and the cell, glass, and backsheet all experience

Delamination of solar module interfaces often occurs in field-tested solar modules after decades of service due to environmental stressors such as humidity. In the presence of water, the interfaces between the encapsulant and the cell, glass, and backsheet all experience losses of adhesion, exposing the module to accelerated degradation. Understanding the relation between interfacial adhesion and water content inside photovoltaic modules can help mitigate detrimental power losses. Water content measurements via water reflectometry detection combined with 180° peel tests were used to study adhesion of module materials exposed to damp heat and dry heat conditions. The effect of temperature, cumulative water dose, and water content on interfacial adhesion between ethylene vinyl acetate and (1) glass, (2) front of the cell, and (3) backsheet was studied. Temperature and time decreased adhesion at all these interfaces. Water content in the sample during the measurement showed significant decreases in adhesion for the Backsheet/Ethylene vinyl acetate interface. Water dose showed little effect for the Glass/ Ethylene vinyl acetate and Backsheet/ Ethylene vinyl acetate interfaces, but there was significant adhesion loss with water dose at the front cell busbar/encapsulant interface. Initial tensile test results to monitor the effects of the mechanical properties ethylene vinyl acetate and backsheet showed water content increasing the strength of ethylene vinyl acetate during plastic deformation but no change in the strength of the backsheet properties. This mechanical property change is likely inducing variation along the peel interface to possibly convolute the adhesion measurements conducted or to explain the variation seen for the water saturated and dried peel test sample types.

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Date Created
2020