Matching Items (21)

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Investigation of Amorphous Photocatalysts for Applications in Solar Water Splitting

Description

The purpose of this thesis was to investigate the properties of amorphous and crystalline NaTaO3 to determine what makes amorphous NaTaO3 a suitable photocatalyst for water splitting applications. Amorphous and

The purpose of this thesis was to investigate the properties of amorphous and crystalline NaTaO3 to determine what makes amorphous NaTaO3 a suitable photocatalyst for water splitting applications. Amorphous and nanocrystalline NaTaO3 were synthesized and characterized using X-Ray Diffraction (XRD), Raman Spectroscopy, and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR). The photocatalytic activity of the materials was analyzed using methylene blue degradation as an indicator of photocatalytic activity. The amorphous material showed significant photocatalytic activity in methylene blue degradation experiments, removing 100% of a 0.1 mmol methylene blue solution in 20 minutes, compared to the monoclinic crystalline NaTaO3, which showed negligible photocatalytic activity. Additional electrochemical characterization studies were carried out with methyl viologen (MV2+) to determine the band structure of the materials. Performing these synthesis and characterization has provided insight into further investigation of amorphous NaTaO3 and what makes the material an effective and inexpensive photocatalyst.

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Date Created
  • 2014-05

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Solar Powered Amphibious Transport

Description

The Solar Powered Amphibious Transport (SPAT) is an amphibious hovercraft that uses solar energy as a power source and is fully controlled via iOS application on a phone or tablet.

The Solar Powered Amphibious Transport (SPAT) is an amphibious hovercraft that uses solar energy as a power source and is fully controlled via iOS application on a phone or tablet. The hovercraft field is relatively unexplored with a solar power source, and one of the goals of the SPAT was to spark interest in sustainable hovercraft design. By challenging the potential of solar power, the SPAT proves that solar energy can be used in high power transportation applications. The second motive behind the creation a hovercraft was for it to serve as a disaster relief vehicle. A hovercraft can traverse both ground and water, which makes it ideal in flooded areas. With the SPAT being remote controlled it can allow the operator to stay at a safe distance while sending supplies or rescuing a person. The SPAT design covered multiple size options, however a small prototype version was built to serve as a proof of concept that a larger solar hovercraft is possible. Our analysis suggests that a larger craft will be able to carry more weight, and be more power efficient. A larger SPAT could help deliver supplies or rescue stranded people after a flood or hurricane. One issue faced however, was that many hovercrafts are highly expensive. The SPAT prototype was designed on a tight budget that did not exceed $800. The possibility of achieving this cost levels allows hovercraft to be a reasonable option for disaster relief agencies. After many long hours spent the SPAT became a fully operational remote control solar powered hovercraft.

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Date Created
  • 2017-05

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Electrical and Optical Characterization of Wide Band Gap Materials in the Zinc and Tin Oxynitride Family

Description

The investigation into wide band gap semiconductors for use in tandem solar cells has become an increasingly more researched area with many new absorbers outlining the landscape. Pairing silicon with

The investigation into wide band gap semiconductors for use in tandem solar cells has become an increasingly more researched area with many new absorbers outlining the landscape. Pairing silicon with another cheap wide band gap semiconductor absorber can generate more efficient solar cell, which could continue to drive up the energy output from solar. One such recently researched wide band gap absorber is ZnSnN2. ZnSnN2 proves too difficult to form under most conditions, but has the necessary band gap to make it a potential earth abundant solar absorber. The deposition process for ZnSnN2 is usually conducted with Zn and Sn metal targets while flowing N2 gas. Due to restrictions with chamber depositions, instead ZnO and SnO2 targets were sputtered with N2 gas to attempt to form separate zinc and tin oxynitrides as an initial single target study prior to future combinatorial studies. The electrical and optical properties and crystal structure of these thin films were analyzed to determine the nitrogen incorporation in the thin films through X-ray diffraction, UV-Vis spectrophotometry, and 4-point probe measurements. The SnO2 thin films showed a clear response in the absorption coefficient leading but showed no observable XRD peak shift. Thus, it is unlikely that substantial amounts of nitrogen were incorporated into SnO¬2. ZnO showed a clear response increase in conductivity with N2 with an additional shift in the XRD peak at 300 °C and potential secondary phase peak. Nitrogen incorporation was achieved with fair amounts of certainty for the ZnO thin films.

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Date Created
  • 2019-05

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Carrier lifetime measurement for characterization of ultraclean thin p/p+ silicon epitaxial layers

Description

Carrier lifetime is one of the few parameters which can give information about the low defect densities in today's semiconductors. In principle there is no lower limit to the defect

Carrier lifetime is one of the few parameters which can give information about the low defect densities in today's semiconductors. In principle there is no lower limit to the defect density determined by lifetime measurements. No other technique can easily detect defect densities as low as 10-9 - 10-10 cm-3 in a simple, contactless room temperature measurement. However in practice, recombination lifetime τr measurements such as photoconductance decay (PCD) and surface photovoltage (SPV) that are widely used for characterization of bulk wafers face serious limitations when applied to thin epitaxial layers, where the layer thickness is smaller than the minority carrier diffusion length Ln. Other methods such as microwave photoconductance decay (µ-PCD), photoluminescence (PL), and frequency-dependent SPV, where the generated excess carriers are confined to the epitaxial layer width by using short excitation wavelengths, require complicated configuration and extensive surface passivation processes that make them time-consuming and not suitable for process screening purposes. Generation lifetime τg, typically measured with pulsed MOS capacitors (MOS-C) as test structures, has been shown to be an eminently suitable technique for characterization of thin epitaxial layers. It is for these reasons that the IC community, largely concerned with unipolar MOS devices, uses lifetime measurements as a "process cleanliness monitor." However when dealing with ultraclean epitaxial wafers, the classic MOS-C technique measures an effective generation lifetime τg eff which is dominated by the surface generation and hence cannot be used for screening impurity densities. I have developed a modified pulsed MOS technique for measuring generation lifetime in ultraclean thin p/p+ epitaxial layers which can be used to detect metallic impurities with densities as low as 10-10 cm-3. The widely used classic version has been shown to be unable to effectively detect such low impurity densities due to the domination of surface generation; whereas, the modified version can be used suitably as a metallic impurity density monitoring tool for such cases.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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Temperature dependent qualities of amorphous silicon and amorphous silicon carbide passivating stacks

Description

Layers of intrinsic hydrogenated amorphous silicon and amorphous silicon carbide

were prepared on a polished, intrinsic crystalline silicon substrate via plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition to simulate heterojunction device relevant stacks of

Layers of intrinsic hydrogenated amorphous silicon and amorphous silicon carbide

were prepared on a polished, intrinsic crystalline silicon substrate via plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition to simulate heterojunction device relevant stacks of various materials. The minority carrier lifetime, optical band gap and FTIR spectra were observed at incremental stages of thermal annealing. By observing the changes in the lifetimes the sample structure responsible for the most thermally robust surface passivation could be determined. These results were correlated to the optical band gap and the position and relative area of peaks in the FTIR spectra related to to silicon-hydrogen bonds in the layers. It was found that due to an increased presence of hydrogen bonded to silicon at voids within the passivating layer, hydrogenated amorphous silicon carbide at the interface of the substrate coupled with a hydrogenated amorphous silicon top layer provides better passivation after high temperature annealing than other device structures.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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Atomic scale characterizations of two-dimensional anisotropic materials and their heterostructures

Description

There has been a surge in two-dimensional (2D) materials field since the discovery of graphene in 2004. Recently, a new class of layered atomically thin materials that exhibit in-plane structural

There has been a surge in two-dimensional (2D) materials field since the discovery of graphene in 2004. Recently, a new class of layered atomically thin materials that exhibit in-plane structural anisotropy, such as black phosphorous, transition metal trichalcogenides and rhenium dichalcogenides (ReS2), have attracted great attention. The reduced symmetry in these novel 2D materials gives rise to highly anisotropic physical properties that enable unique applications in next-gen electronics and optoelectronics. For example, higher carrier mobility along one preferential crystal direction for anisotropic field effect transistors and anisotropic photon absorption for polarization-sensitive photodetectors.

This dissertation endeavors to address two key challenges towards practical application of anisotropic materials. One is the scalable production of high quality 2D anisotropic thin films, and the other is the controllability over anisotropy present in synthesized crystals. The investigation is focused primarily on rhenium disulfide because of its chemical similarity to conventional 2D transition metal dichalcogenides and yet anisotropic nature. Carefully designed vapor phase deposition has been demonstrated effective for batch synthesis of high quality ReS2 monolayer. Heteroepitaxial growth proves to be a feasible route for controlling anisotropic directions. Scanning/transmission electron microscopy and angle-resolved Raman spectroscopy have been extensively applied to reveal the structure-property relationship in synthesized 2D anisotropic layers and their heterostructures.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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Amorphous Silicon Contacts for Silicon and Cadmium Telluride Solar Cells

Description

Achieving high efficiency in solar cells requires optimal photovoltaics materials for light absorption and as with any electrical device—high-quality contacts. Essentially, the contacts separate the charge carriers—holes at one terminal

Achieving high efficiency in solar cells requires optimal photovoltaics materials for light absorption and as with any electrical device—high-quality contacts. Essentially, the contacts separate the charge carriers—holes at one terminal and electrons at the other—extracting them to an external circuit. For this purpose, the development of passivating and carrier-selective contacts that enable low interface defect density and efficient carrier transport is critical for making high-efficiency solar cells. The recent record-efficiency n-type silicon cells with hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) contacts have demonstrated the usefulness of passivating and carrier-selective contacts. However, the use of a-Si:H contacts should not be limited in just n-type silicon cells.

In the present work, a-Si:H contacts for crystalline silicon and cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar cells are developed. First, hydrogen-plasma-processsed a-Si:H contacts are used in n-type Czochralski silicon cell fabrication. Hydrogen plasma treatment is used to increase the Si-H bond density of a-Si:H films and decrease the dangling bond density at the interface, which leads to better interface passivation and device performance, and wider temperature-processing window of n-type silicon cells under full spectrum (300–1200 nm) illumination. In addition, thickness-varied a-Si:H contacts are studied for n-type silicon cells under the infrared spectrum (700–1200 nm) illumination, which are prepared for silicon-based tandem applications.

Second, the a-Si:H contacts are applied to commercial-grade p-type silicon cells, which have much lower bulk carrier lifetimes than the n-type silicon cells. The approach is using gettering and bulk hydrogenation to improve the p-type silicon bulk quality, and then applying a-Si:H contacts to enable excellent surface passivation and carrier transport. This leads to an open-circuit voltage of 707 mV in p-type Czochralski silicon cells, and of 702 mV, the world-record open-circuit voltage in p-type multi-crystalline silicon cells.

Finally, CdTe cells with p-type a-Si:H hole-selective contacts are studied. As a proof of concept, p-type a-Si:H contacts enable achieving the highest reported open-circuit voltages (1.1 V) in mono-crystalline CdTe devices. A comparative study of applying p-type a-Si:H contacts in poly-crystalline CdTe solar cells is performed, resulting in absolute voltage gain of 53 mV over using the standard tellurium contacts.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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Development of a diffused junction silicon solar cell pilot line

Description

In the interest of expediting future pilot line start-ups for solar cell research, the development of Arizona State University's student-led pilot line at the Solar Power Laboratory is discussed extensively

In the interest of expediting future pilot line start-ups for solar cell research, the development of Arizona State University's student-led pilot line at the Solar Power Laboratory is discussed extensively within this work. Several experiments and characterization techniques used to formulate and optimize a series of processes for fabricating diffused-junction, screen-printed silicon solar cells are expounded upon. An experiment is conducted in which the thickness of a PECVD deposited anti-reflection coating (ARC) is varied across several samples and modeled as a function of deposition time. Using this statistical model in tandem with reflectance measurements for each sample, the ARC thickness is optimized to increase light trapping in the solar cells. A response surface model (RSM) experiment is conducted in which 3 process parameters are varied on the PECVD tool for the deposition of the ARCs on several samples. A contactless photoconductance decay (PCD) tool is used to measure the dark saturation currents of these samples. A statistical analysis is performed using JMP in which optimum deposition parameters are found. A separate experiment shows an increase in the passivation quality of the a-SiNx:H ARCs deposited on the solar cells made on the line using these optimum parameters. A RSM experiment is used to optimize the printing process for a particular silver paste in a similar fashion, the results of which are confirmed by analyzing the series resistance of subsequent cells fabricated on the line. An in-depth explanation of a more advanced analysis using JMP and PCD measurements on the passivation quality of 3 aluminum back-surface fields (BSF) is given. From this experiment, a comparison of the means is conducted in order to choose the most effective BSF paste for cells fabricated on the line. An experiment is conducted in parallel which confirms the results via Voc measurements. It is shown that in a period of 11 months, the pilot line went from producing a top cell efficiency of 11.5% to 17.6%. Many of these methods used for the development of this pilot line are equally applicable to other cell structures, and can easily be applied to other solar cell pilot lines.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Bulk laser material modification: towards a kerfless laser wafering process

Description

Due to the ever increasing relevance of finer machining control as well as necessary reduction in material waste by large area semiconductor device manufacturers, a novel bulk laser machining method

Due to the ever increasing relevance of finer machining control as well as necessary reduction in material waste by large area semiconductor device manufacturers, a novel bulk laser machining method was investigated. Because the cost of silicon and sapphire substrates are limiting to the reduction in cost of devices in both the light emitting diode (LED) and solar industries, and the present substrate wafering process results in >50% waste, the need for an improved ingot wafering technique exists.

The focus of this work is the design and understanding of a novel semiconductor wafering technique that utilizes the nonlinear absorption properties of band-gapped materials to achieve bulk (subsurface) morphological changes in matter using highly focused laser light. A method and tool was designed and developed to form controlled damage regions in the bulk of a crystalline sapphire wafer leaving the surfaces unaltered. The controllability of the subsurface damage geometry was investigated, and the effect of numerical aperture of the focusing optic, energy per pulse, wavelength, and number of pulses was characterized for a nanosecond pulse length variable wavelength Nd:YAG OPO laser.

A novel model was developed to describe the geometry of laser induced morphological changes in the bulk of semiconducting materials for nanosecond pulse lengths. The beam propagation aspect of the model was based on ray-optics, and the full Keldysh multiphoton photoionization theory in conjuncture with Thornber's and Drude's models for impact ionization were used to describe high fluence laser light absorption and carrier generation ultimately resulting in permanent material modification though strong electron-plasma absorption and plasma melting. Although the electron-plasma description of laser damage formation is usually reserved for extremely short laser pulses (<20 ps), this work shows that it can be adapted for longer pulses of up to tens of nanoseconds.

In addition to a model describing damage formation of sub-band gap energy laser light in semiconducting and transparent crystalline dielectrics, a novel nanosecond laser process was successfully realized to generate a thin plane of damage in the bulk of sapphire wafers. This was accomplished using high numerical aperture optics, a variable wavelength nanosecond laser source, and three-dimensional motorized precision stage control.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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The design and demonstration of monocrystalline CdTe/MgCdTe double-heterostructure solar cells

Description

Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) possesses preferable optical properties for photovoltaic (PV) applications: a near optimum bandgap of 1.5 eV, and a high absorption coefficient of over 15,000 cm-1 at the band

Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) possesses preferable optical properties for photovoltaic (PV) applications: a near optimum bandgap of 1.5 eV, and a high absorption coefficient of over 15,000 cm-1 at the band edge. The detailed-balance limiting efficiency is 32.1% with an open-circuit voltage (Voc) of 1.23 V under the AM1.5G spectrum. The record polycrystalline CdTe thin-film cell efficiency has reached 22.1%, with excellent short-circuit current densities (Jsc) and fill-factors (FF). However, the Voc (~900 mV) is still far below the theoretical value, due to the large non-radiative recombination in the polycrystalline CdTe absorber, and the low-level p-type doping.

Monocrystalline CdTe/MgCdTe double-heterostructures (DHs) grown on lattice-matched InSb substrates have demonstrated impressively long carrier lifetimes in both unintentionally doped and Indium-doped n-type CdTe samples. The non-radiative recombination inside of, and at the interfaces of the CdTe absorbers in CdTe/MgCdTe DH samples has been significantly reduced due to the use of lattice-matched InSb substrates, and the excellent passivation provided by the MgCdTe barrier layers. The external luminescent quantum efficiency (η_ext) of n-type CdTe/MgCdTe DHs is up to 3.1%, observed from a 1-µm-thick CdTe/MgCdTe DH doped at 1017 cm-3. The 3.1% η_ext corresponds to an internal luminescent quantum efficiency (η_int) of 91%. Such a high η_ext gives an implied Voc, or quasi-Fermi-level splitting, of 1.13 V.

To obtain actual Voc, the quasi-Fermi-level splitting should be extracted to outside the circuit using a hole-selective contact layer. However, CdTe is difficult to be doped p-type, making it challenging to make efficient PN junction CdTe solar cells. With the use of MgCdTe barrier layers, the hole-contact layer can be defective without affecting the voltage. P-type hydrogenated amorphous silicon is an effective hole-selective contact for CdTe solar cells, enabling monocrystalline CdTe/MgCdTe DH solar cells to achieve Voc over 1.1 V, and a maximum active area efficiency of 18.8% (Jsc = 23.3 mA/cm2, Voc = 1.114 V, and FF = 72.3%). The knowledge gained through making the record-efficiency monocrystalline CdTe cell, particularly the n-type doping and the double-heterostructure design, may be transferable to polycrystalline CdTe thin-film cells and improve their competitiveness in the PV industry.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016