Hotwire Chemical Vapour Deposition of Boron Doped Epitaxial Silicon for Interdigitated Back Contact Solar Cells
Silicon solar cells remain the dominant technology in the photovoltaic market. The interdigitated back contact (IBC) design is a well-established approach to achieving high efficiency silicon solar cells, with a number of advantages over conventional designs. The main disadvantage of the approach has been the more complex process flow which results in higher costs than conventional devices. Alternative processing routes and fabrication technologies are therefore being sought to reduce costs and improve performance of IBC solar cells.
We are looking for a PhD student to join the Nano Research Group in the Department of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) and work in collaboration with Echerkon Technologies Ltd. on the development of a hot wire chemical vapour deposition (HWCVD) process for growing epitaxial boron doped silicon. We would like to develop the process for use in the fabrication of an IBC solar cell, with the aim of reducing costs and increasing performance compared to a conventional device. You will firstly be tasked with carrying out a detailed analysis of the deposited material and an optimization of the growth conditions, using a range of state-of-the-art characterisation techniques. You will then look to incorporate the optimized process into an IBC fabrication flow to make a solar cell. Once a functioning device has been produced, you can then work to improve/optimise the device design, guided by optical and electrical modelling. The focus of the optimisation work can be decided based on your interests and current research trends but could, for instance, build on current expertise in the group on nanoscale texturing methods for reducing top surface reflectance.
As part of this project, you will undergo intensive training in the art of semiconductor device fabrication in the high-spec Southampton Nanofabrication Centre cleanroom facility (www.southampton-nanofab.com and http://www.zeplerinstitute.ac.uk).