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Damage mechanisms in thin film solar cells during sputtering deposition of transparent conductive coatings

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4 Author(s)
Fan, Qi Hua ; Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Toledo, 2801 West Bancroft Street, Toledo, Ohio 43606, USA ; Deng, Michael ; Liao, Xianbo ; Xunming Deng,

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Amorphous silicon (a-Si) based thin film solar cell grown on flexible stainless steel substrate is one of the most promising energy conversion devices in the future. This type of solar cell uses a transparent conductive oxide (TCO) film as top electrode. It has been a widely accepted opinion that the radio frequency sputtering deposition of the TCO film produces a higher yield than direct current sputtering, and the reason is not clear. Here we show that the damage to the solar cell during the sputtering process is caused by a reverse bias applied to the n-i-p junction. This reverse bias is related to the characteristics of plasma discharge. The mechanism we reveal may significantly affect the solar cell process.

Published in:

Journal of Applied Physics  (Volume:105 ,  Issue: 3 )