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Plasma Processes for thin film solar cells

Today the application of photovoltaic devices for the production of electricity is economical in many cases. In order to make photovoltaic more interesting, one important point is to reduce the price. For large-scale productions thin film solar cells are of particular interest. Glass plates are state of the art substrates for thin film e.g. copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) solar modules. They can be replaced by thin metal foils to reduce weight as well as material costs. The standard CIGS solar modules produced by the Centre of Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research (ZSW) consist of monolithically connected solar cells.

Therefore, the metal foil has to be insulated. In addition, diffusion of material impurities and of material elements must be prevented by a diffusion barrier. Using thin metal foils provides new flexibility to the modules, making them suitable for mobile applications and other niche domains. Here the used glass substrate, as well as the glass covering can be replaced by thin systems of polymer films deposited in a low pressure microwave sustained plasma process. These films establish new technologies for economical production of flexible photovoltaic modules. Furthermore, plasma processes can be used for the deposition of thin film a-Si and µc-Si. This gives an important new market for the plasma technology.

Contact Person
Name: Dr.-Ing. Andreas Schulz