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Atmospheric Pressure Chemical Vapour Deposition of 3C-SiC for Silicon Thin-Film Solar Cells on Various Substrates

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The production of crystalline silicon thin-film solar cells on cost effective ceramic substrates depends on a highly reliable diffusion barrier to separate the light absorbing layers from the substrate. Ideally this intermediate layer should be deposited with cost effective techniques, be conductive and should feature optical confinement. Furthermore the intermediate layer should withstand high temperatures and harsh chemical environments like they occur during solar cell processing. Especially stability against oxidizing solvents like HNO3 or inactivity during e.g., oxide removing steps with HF is required. Crystalline silicon carbide (c-SiC) deposited by atmospheric pressure chemical vapour deposition (APCVD) can match all those requirements and additionally fits the thermal properties of crystalline silicon. The c-SiC intermediate layer is deposited from methyltrichlorosilane (MTS) and H2 at 1100 °C. Under these conditions, growth of solely cubic 3C-SiC could be observed by X-ray diffraction measurements. Use of such intermediate layers during high temperature steps prevents diffusion of transition metals, originating from the substrates, into active silicon layers. Doping of these 3C-SiC layers with nitrogen results in specific resistivity of less than 100 Ω cm. The different potentially cost-effective substrates are made from graphite, crystalline silicon, sintered silicon carbide and sintered zircon (ZrSiO4). Surface properties of the coated substrates were investigated, explaining changes in surface roughness and influences on the solar cell processing.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-09-01

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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