Structural defects caused by a rough substrate and their influence on the performance of hydrogenated nano-crystalline silicon n–i–p solar cells

H. B. T. Li, R.H. Franken, J.K. Rath, R.E.I. Schropp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We present a cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy study of a set of hydrogenated nano-crystalline silicon n–i–p solar cells deposited by hot-wire chemical vapour deposition on Corning glass substrates coated with ZnO-covered Ag layers with various surface roughnesses. Strip-like structural defects (voids and low-density areas) are observed in the silicon layers originating from micro-valleys of Ag grains. A correlation between the opening angles of the textured surface and the appearance of these strips was found. We propose that in order to grow high-quality hydrogenated nano-crystalline silicon absorber layers for solar cell applications, the morphology of the Ag surface is a critical property, and the micro-valleys at the ZnO surface with an opening angle smaller than around 110° should be avoided.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)338-349
Number of pages12
JournalSolar Energy Materials and Solar Cells
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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