Beauty of science: solar cell distortion


Researchers at the ESRF’s BM05 beamline have used X-ray diffraction to characterise the structure of a solar cell comprising a layer of silicon in contact with an aluminium backplane.

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The complete structure is present on the left, while on the right the aluminium backplane has been removed by etching. The integrated diffracted intensity (image represents a region 1.3 mm × 0.6 mm) shows two completely different lines where the silicon diffracts. Where the aluminium backplane is present (left) there is a lot of distortion induced in the silicon, whereas there is much less distortion where the aluminium back-plane has been removed. The results reveal a correlation between the photovoltaic effi ciency and the lattice distortion of the silicon in contact with the eutectic and aluminium layers. (Progress in Photovoltaics: Research and applications submitted for publication).



This article originally appeared in ESRFnews, December 2013. 

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Top image: Image credit: T. Thi et al./ESRF; S. Dubois and N. Enjalbert, CEA-INES.