High Efficiency, Low Cost, Thin Film Silicon Solar Cell Design and Method for Making
U.S. Patent 6,201,261
Technology Description A semiconductor device having a substrate, a conductive intermediate layer deposited onto said substrate, wherein the intermediate layer serves as a back electrode, an optical reflector, and an interface for impurity gettering, and a semiconductor layer deposited onto said intermediate layer, wherein the semiconductor layer has a grain size at least as large as the layer thickness, and preferably about ten times the layer thickness. The device is formed by depositing a metal layer on a substrate, depositing a semiconductive material on the metal-coated substrate to produce a composite structure, and then optically processing the composite structure by illuminating it with infrared electromagnetic radiation according to a unique time-energy profile that first produces pits in the backside surface of the semiconductor material, then produces a thin, highly reflective, low resistivity alloy layer over the entire area of the interface between the semiconductor material and the metal layer, and finally produces a grain-enhanced semiconductor layer. The time-energy profile includes increasing the energy to a first energy level to initiate pit formation and create the desired pit size and density, then ramping up to a second energy level in which the entire device is heated to produce an interfacial melt, and finally reducing the energy to a third energy level and holding for a period of time to allow enhancement in the grain size of the semiconductor layer.
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