Epitaxial Crystal Silicon Absorber Layers and Solar Cells Grown at 1.8 Microns per Minute

David C. Bobela, Charles W. Teplin, David L. Young, Howard M. Branz, Paul Stradins

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

8 Scopus Citations


We have grown device-quality epitaxial silicon thin films at growth rates up to 1.85 μm/min, using hot-wire chemical vapor deposition from silane, at substrate temperatures below 750°C. At these rates, which are more than 30 times faster than those used by the amorphous and nanocrystalline Si industry, capital costs for large-scale solar cell production would be dramatically reduced, even for cell absorber layers up to 10 μm thick. We achieved high growth rates by optimizing the three key parameters: silane flow, depletion, and filament geometry, based on our model developed earlier. Hydrogen coverage of the filament surface likely limits silane decomposition and growth rate at high system pressures. No considerable deterioration in PV device performance is observed when grown at high rate, provided that the epitaxial growth is initiated at low rate. A simple mesa device structure (wafer/epi Si/a-Si(i)/a-Si:H(p)/ITO) with a 2.3 μm thick epitaxial silicon absorber layer was grown at 0.7 μm/min. The finished device had an open-circuit voltage of 0.424 V without hydrogenation treatment.

Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages5
StatePublished - 2011
Event37th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2011 - Seattle, WA, United States
Duration: 19 Jun 201124 Jun 2011


Conference37th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2011
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySeattle, WA

Bibliographical note

See NREL/CP-5200-50708 for preprint

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5200-55697


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