Nanocrystalline hydrogenated silicon (nc-Si:H) substrate configuration n-i-p solar cells have been fabricated on soda lime glass substrates with active absorber layers prepared by plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) and radio frequency magnetron sputtering. The cells with nanocrystalline PECVD absorbers and an untextured back reflector serve as a baseline for comparison and have power conversion efficiency near 6%. By comparison, cells with sputtered absorbers achieved efficiencies of about 1%. Simulations of external quantum efficiency (EQE) are compared to experimental EQE to determine a carrier collection probability gradient with depth for the device with the sputtered i-layer absorber. This incomplete collection of carriers generated in the absorber is most pronounced in material near the n/i interface and is attributed to breaking vacuum between deposition of layers for the sputtered absorbers, possible low electronic quality of the nc-Si:H sputtered absorber, and damage at the n/i interface by over-deposition of the sputtered i-layer during device fabrication.
Keywords: Dielectric function; Hydrogenated nanocrystalline silicon; PECVD; RF-sputtering; Real time spectroscopic ellipsometry; nc-Si:H n-i-p solar cell.