Researchers from Japan say they have developed a new technology for analyzing characteristics of amorphous silicon (a-Si) films for thin-film PV panels.
June 23, 2010 – Researchers from Dainippon Screen (DNS) and Gifu University say they have developed a new technology for analyzing characteristics of amorphous silicon (a-Si) films for use in thin-film PV panels.
One culprit behind light-induced degradation of a-Si solar cells (also a problem for multijunction cells) is excess hydrogen introduced during the process of forming the films on glass substrates. No technology has been able to accurately analyze (and thus control) hydrogen content during production processes, to gain stability and streamline cell/panel production.
Toward this end, DNS and Gifu, through a collaboration started in 2008, have developed an analysis method for analyzing a-Si silicon films that digitizes information “useful for the accurate control of light-induced degradation.” More work is needed to commercialize the technology for accurate analysis of film properties, as well as non-contact non-destructive measurement of film thicknesses, but the firms plan to incorporate this as a measurement function in DNS’ spectroscopic ellipsometric film thickness measurement systems.
DNS plans to increase its solar cell unit to ¥5B by 2012, and “this system will play a key role as a standard bearer for our business,” said Katsumi Shimaji, corporate officer and deputy GM of DNS’ development & manufacturing management division, in a statement. This system will be presented in a panel exhibit at PV Japan 2010 later this month (June 30-July 2 in Yokohama).