Modeling and characterization of materials and nanostructures for photovoltaic application

Abstract : Research in photovoltaics aims at lowering the price per watt of generated electrical power. Substantial efforts aim at searching for new materials and designs which can push the limits of existing solar cells. The recent development of complex materials and nanostructures for solar cells requires more effort to be put into their characterization and modeling. This thesis focuses on optical characterization, modeling, and design optimization of advanced solar cell architectures.Optical measurements are used for fast and non-destructive characterization of textured samples for photovoltaic applications. Surface textures enhance light-trapping and are thus desired to improve the solar cell performance. On the other hand, these textures make optical characterization more challenging and more effort is required for both, the optical measurement itself and subsequent modeling and interpretation of obtained data. In this work, we demonstrate that we are able to use optical methods to study the widely used pyramidal textures as well as very challenging randomly oriented silicon nanowire arrays.At first, we focused on the optical study of various pyramidal surfaces and their impact on the silicon heterojunction solar cell performance. We have found that vertex angles of pyramids prepared using various texturing conditions vary from the theoretical value of 70.52° expected from crystalline silicon. This change of the vertex angle is explained by regular monoatomic terraces, which are present on pyramid facets and are observed by atomic resolution transmission electron microscopy. The impact of a vertex angle variation on the thicknesses of deposited thin films is studied and the consequences for resulting solar cell efficiency are discussed. A developed optical model for calculation of the reflectance and absorptance of thin film multi-layers on pyramidal surfaces enabled a solar cell design optimization, with respect to a given pyramid vertex angle.In-situ Mueller matrix ellipsometry has been applied for monitoring the silicon nanowire growth process by plasma-enhanced vapor-liquid-solid method. We have developed an easy-to-use optical model, which is to our knowledge a first model fitting the experimental ellipsometric data for process control of plasma-assisted vapor-liquid-solid grown nanowires. The observed linear dependence of the silicon material deposition on the deposition time enables us to trace the fabrication process in-situ and to control material quality.
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Zuzana Mrazkova. Modeling and characterization of materials and nanostructures for photovoltaic application. Micro and nanotechnologies/Microelectronics. Université Paris-Saclay; VŠB - Technical University of Ostrava, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017SACLX121⟩. ⟨tel-01998527⟩

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