III-V/Si tandem solar cells : an inverted metamorphic approach using low temperature PECVD of c-Si(Ge)

Abstract : Combining Silicon with III-V materials represents a promising pathway to overcome the ≈29% efficiency limit of a single c-Si solar cell. While the standard approach is to grow III-V materials on Si, this work deals with an innovative way of fabricating tandem solar cells. We use an inverted metamorphic approach in which crystalline silicon or SiGe is directly grown on III-V materials by PECVD. The low temperature of this process (<200 °C) reduces the usual thermal expansion problems, and growing the group IV material on the III-V prevents polarity issues.The realization of the final tandem solar cell made of SiGe/AlGaAs requires the development and optimization of various building blocks. First, we develop the epitaxy at 175°C of Si(Ge) on (100) Si substrates in an industrial standard RF-PECVD reactor. We prove the promising electrical performances of such grown Si(Ge) by realizing PIN heterojunction solar cells with 1.5µm epitaxial absorber leading to a Voc up to 0.57 V. We show that the incorporation of Ge in the layer increases the Jsc from 15.4 up to 16.6 A/cm2 (SiGe28%).Meanwhile, we develop the growth of AlGaAs solar cells by MOVPE and its process flow. We reach an efficiency of 17.6 % for a single Al0.22GaAs solar cell. We then develop the tunnel junction (TJ), essential part of a tandem solar cell with 2-terminal integration. We develop the growth of n-doped GaAs with DIPTe precursor to fabricate TJs with peak tunneling currents up to 3000 A/cm2, reaching state-of-the art TJs.Then, the hetero-epitaxy of Si on GaAs by PECVD is studied. c-Si exhibits excellent structural properties, and the first stages of the growth are investigated by X-ray diffraction with synchrotron beam. We find an unexpected behavior: the grown Si is fully relaxed, but tetragonal. While the GaAs lattice parameter is higher than silicon one, we find a higher out-of-plane Si parameter (a⏊) than in-plane (a//), contradicting the common rules of hetero-epitaxy. We find a strong correlation between this tetragonal behavior and the presence of hydrogen in the Si layer. We furthermore show that hydrogen also plays a strong role in GaAs: the doping level of GaAs is decreased by one order of magnitude when exposed to a H2 plasma, due to the formation of complexes between H and the dopants (C, Te, Si). This behavior can be recovered after annealing at 350°C.Finally, the last step of device fabrication is studied: the bonding. We successfully bonded an inverted AlGaAs cell, removed it from its substrate, and processed a full 2” wafer. We succeeded in growing our first tandem solar cells by growing thick layers (>1 µm) of Si on an inverted AlGaAs solar cells followed by a TJ. The bonding and process of this final device is then performed, leading, as a next step, to the electrical measurement of the very first tandem solar cell grown by inverted metamorphic growth of Si on III-V.
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Gwenaëlle Hamon. III-V/Si tandem solar cells : an inverted metamorphic approach using low temperature PECVD of c-Si(Ge). Materials Science [cond-mat.mtrl-sci]. Université Paris-Saclay, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018SACLX004⟩. ⟨tel-01713283⟩

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