Advanced Thin Silicon High Efficiency Device Integrations

::Download Scientific Description::  ::Project Researchers and Highly Qualified Personnel::  ::Project Progress Summary::  Over the last three decades crystalline silicon based solar cells have undergone remarkable technological advances, experienced a significant drop in silicon feedstock cost, and today are at or approaching grid parity in a number of regions of the world. The next step in the evolution of silicon photovoltaics is the realization of high efficiency ultra-thin silicon photovoltaics, thereby rendering it commercially ubiquitous.

Group Photo for PROJECT10

left to right: Professor Nazir Kherani (Project Leader – University of Toronto), Andrew Flood (MSc student – University of Toronto), Kevin Boyd (PhD student – McMaster University), and Professor Rafael Kleiman (Project Co-Investigator – McMaster University).

Today, a range of techniques are being developed to produce ultra-thin silicon foils at the 20-50 µm thickness level. In this framework, the advent of low-temperature synthesis processes provide a desirable path for the production of high efficiency silicon foil solar cells – as low temperature processing induces low thermal stresses, facilitates simpler production, and higher yield.


Figure: Project 10 HQP Zahidur Chowdhury is working in The University of Toronto’s advanced nano-fabrication facilities to improve the surface quality of silicon solar cells.


Figure: Micro-PCD image showing the passivation quality achieved by the research group of Nazir Kherani at The University of Toronto. It shows the novel low temperature passivation scheme with facile silicon oxide and PECVD silicon nitride dual layers.

This project is currently developing novel processes amenable to high efficiency ultra-thin silicon photovoltaics. Key activities include: development of an ultra-thin silicon membrane photovoltaic platform; discovery of a facile native oxide based passivation scheme amenable to high-efficiency heterojunction silicon photovoltaics; innovation of an ultra-fast laser direct-write mask technique for the production of micron – submicron inverted pyramid texturization; innovation of a conducting transparent photonic crystal for optimal back reflection; and the integration of these device elements into a set of viable commercial technology platform.