Silicon Nanowires for Photovoltaics : from the Material to the Device

Abstract : Silicon Nanowire (SiNW) based solar cells offer an interesting choice towards low-cost and highly efficient solar cells. Indeed solar cells based on SiNWs benefit from their outstanding optical properties such as extreme light trapping and very low reflectance. In this research project, we have fabricated disordered SiNWs using a low-cost top-down approach named the Metal-Assisted-Chemical-Etching process (MACE). The MACE process was first optimized to reduce the strong agglomeration observed at the top-end of the SiNWs by tuning the wettability properties of both the initial substrate and the SiNWs surface. By combining the MACE process with the nanosphere lithography, we have also produced ordered SiNW arrays with an accurate control over the pitch, diameter and length. The optical properties of these SiNW arrays were then investigated both theoretically and experimentally in order to identify the geometrical configuration giving the best optical performance. Disordered and ordered SiNW arrays have been integrated into two types of solar cells: heterojunction with intrinsic thin layer (HIT) and hybrid devices. SiNW based HIT devices were fabricated by RF-PECVD and the optimization of the process conditions has allowed us to reach efficiency as high as 12.9% with excellent fill factor above 80%. Hybrid solar cells based on the combination of SiNWs with an organic layer have also been studied and characterized. The possible transfer of this concept to the thin film technology is finally explored.
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Alienor Togonal. Silicon Nanowires for Photovoltaics : from the Material to the Device. Micro and nanotechnologies/Microelectronics. Université Paris-Saclay; Nanyang Technological University, 2016. English. ⟨NNT : 2016SACLX032⟩. ⟨tel-01496838⟩

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