Silicon Thin Film Solar Cell Conversion World Record Refreshed

A team of researchers from a number of research institutes in Japan announced that they have developed a three-junction thin-film silicon solar cell that achieved a stable conversion efficiency of 13.6%, successfully breaking the previously reported world record of 13.44%. The researchers said that if some rationalization improvements are made, the efficiency can reach more than 14%. Related papers were published in the journal of Applied Physics Letters.

The research team is composed of personnel drawn from several of Japan's largest research centers, including the Advanced Industrial Science and Technology Institute (AIST), Photovoltaic Power Technology Research Association (PVTEC), Sharp, Panasonic, and Mitsubishi.

AIST researcher Sakai Tamura said that the new study has achieved two important results. One is to develop thin-film silicon solar cells with advanced light-harvesting capabilities; the other is to achieve a photocurrent density of 34.1 milli-amps per square centimeter on a microcrystalline absorber layer only 4 microns thick.

There are many different types of solar cell efficiency, and it is often difficult to directly compare different types of efficiency. This study uses a stable photoelectric conversion efficiency (PCE).

Sazu Tamura pointed out that solar cells will experience a certain degree of attenuation as long as they are exposed to light, humidity, temperature, etc. Therefore, most solar cells are evaluated through “initial” efficiency. If the battery is a material such as crystalline silicon, the performance is relatively stable; and if amorphous silicon is involved, ie, amorphous silicon, the situation will be completely different, and its conductive properties will be significantly degraded after exposure to sunlight. This property is called SWE. effect.

Many factors may cause light-induced degradation of silicon solar cells. One countermeasure is to use a honeycomb structure in the substrate. Previously, honeycomb textures were mostly used for single-junction solar cells, which were made of only one semiconductor material and absorbed only one wavelength of light. In the new study, scientists found that this structure can also be used for multi-junction solar cells, which can absorb multiple wavelengths of light and have better light trapping performance than single-junction cells. To further increase efficiency, they also finely controlled the cellular texture and added a moth-eye structure anti-reflection coating.

To make a fair comparison, researchers tested solar cells exposed to sunlight for a period of time. The results show that the initial efficiency of this battery can reach 14.5%, and the stability efficiency is also 13.6%.

Despite a new record, the researchers believe that the battery still has a lot of room for improvement. After improving the performance of the top layer of the solar cell and resolving the problem of spectral mismatch, its stable efficiency is expected to exceed 14%. (Reporter Wang Xiaolong)

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