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Studies of pure and nitrogen-incorporated hydrogenated amorphous carbon thin films and their possible application for amorphous silicon solar cells

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3 Author(s)
Dwivedi, Neeraj ; Physics of Energy Harvesting Division, National Physical Laboratory (CSIR), K.S. Krishnan Road, New Delhi 110012, India ; Kumar, Sushil ; Malik, Hitendra K.

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Hydrogenated amorphous carbon (a-C:H) and nitrogen-incorporated a-C:H (a-C:N:H) thin films were deposited using radio frequency–plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition technique and studied for their electrical, optical, and nano-mechanical properties. Introduction of nitrogen and increase of self bias enhanced the conductivity of a-C:H and a-C:N:H films, whereas current-voltage measurement reveals heterojunction formation due to their rectifying behavior. The bandgap of these films was changed over wide range from 1.9 eV to 3.45 eV by varying self bias and the nitrogen incorporation. Further, activation energy was correlated with the electronic structure of a-C:H and a-C:N:H films, and conductivity was discussed as a function of bandgap. Moreover, a-C:N:H films exhibited high hardness and elastic modulus, with maximum values as 42 GPa and 430 GPa, respectively, at -100 V. Observed fascinating electrical, optical, and nano-mechanical properties made it a material of great utility in the development of optoelectronic devices, such as solar cells. In addition, we also performed simulation study for an a-Si:H solar cell, considering a-C:H and C:N:H as window layers, and compared their performance with the a-Si:H solar cell having a-SiC:H as window layer. We also proposed several structures for the development of a near full-spectrum solar cell. Moreover, due to high hardness, a-C:N:H films can be used as a protective and encapsulate layer on solar cells, especially in n-i-p configuration on metal substrate. Nevertheless, a-C:H and a-C:N:H as a window layer can avoid the use of additional hard and protective coating and, hence, minimize the cost of the product.

Published in:

Journal of Applied Physics  (Volume:111 ,  Issue: 1 )

Date of Publication:

Jan 2012

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