As part of the UK Supergen consortium we are currently performing research into methods of enhancing the performance of silicon based thin film solar cells deposited using PECVD. We intend to achieve this primarily through enhancements in the optical absorption of materials by optimisation of cell design and the inclusion of third generation design features such as plasmonics and intermediate reflecting layers.
Thin film cells are created using an Oxford Instruments SYS100 PECVD reactor which is installed in the department's new cleanroom facility. This reactor provides the the ability to deposit silicon, silicon carbide, and silicon germanium in the amorphous or micro crystalline regime providing the potential to investigate many advanced cell designs and configurations.
Deposited cells are typically characterised using techniques such as spectroscopic ellipsometry, AFM, SEM, QE and IQE measurements, and IV characteristic analysis which are all available in house.