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International Journal of Photoenergy
Volume 2014, Article ID 176965, 10 pages
Research Article

Optical and Electrical Effects of p-type μc-SiOx:H in Thin-Film Silicon Solar Cells on Various Front Textures

1IEK5-Photovoltaik, Forschungszentrum Jülich, 52425 Jülich, Germany
2Peter Grünberg Institute (PGI-9), Forschungszentrum Jülich, 52425 Jülich, Germany

Received 6 December 2013; Revised 12 March 2014; Accepted 12 March 2014; Published 14 April 2014

Academic Editor: Raghu N. Bhattacharya

Copyright © 2014 Chao Zhang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


p-type hydrogenated microcrystalline silicon oxide (µc-Si :H) was developed and implemented as a contact layer in hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) single junction solar cells. Higher transparency, sufficient electrical conductivity, low ohmic contact to sputtered ZnO:Al, and tunable refractive index make p-type µc-Si :H a promising alternative to the commonly used p-type hydrogenated microcrystalline silicon (µc-Si:H) contact layers. In this work, p-type µc-Si :H layers were fabricated with a conductivity of up to 10−2 S/cm and a Raman crystallinity of above 60%. Furthermore, we present p-type µc-Si :H films with a broad range of optical properties (2.1 eV < band gap  eV and 1.6 < refractive index ). These properties can be tuned by adapting deposition parameters, for example, the CO2/SiH4 deposition gas ratio. A conversion efficiency improvement of a-Si:H solar cells is achieved by applying p-type µc-Si :H contact layer compared to the standard p-type µc-Si:H contact layer. As another aspect, the influence of the front side texture on a-Si:H p-i-n solar cells with different p-type contact layers, µc-Si:H and µc-Si :H, is investigated. Furthermore, we discuss the correlation between the decrease of and the cell surface area derived from AFM measurements.