- IIT Mandi has come out with a research on using AACVD technique to deposit metal oxide layers for solar cells
- They used nickel nitrate to produce nickel oxide films with a thickness of close to 15 nm and a grain size of 40 nm
- Studying the diode characteristics of the deposited thin-film on the silicon substrate was found to have properties suited for fabrication of solar cells
- Team claims this is a lower cost alternative to sputtering method currently used for depositing metal layers
Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mandi have developed what they term as a low-cost process to produce ultrathin films of metal oxides from cheaper starting materials using aerosol-assisted chemical vapour deposition (AACVD) technique instead of sputtering, claiming it has the potential to ‘revolutionize’ the solar industry.
“Our research shows that it is possible to develop a cost-effective and scalable process for the production of metal oxide layers for solar cells. This new method has the potential to revolutionize the solar industry by reducing the cost and complexity of current production techniques,” said study lead Dr Kunal Ghosh.
For their research, the team used nickel nitrate to produce nickel oxide films with a thickness of close to 15 nanometers (nm) and a grain size of 40 nm. Nickel nitrate hexahydrate was used as the nickel salt while the deposition was performed at 550 °C for a time of 15 min.
Using various characterization techniques, they studied the morphology and composition of the nickel oxide films and analyzed the diode characteristics of the deposited thin-film on the silicon substrate. The team found it to have properties suited for fabrication of solar cells.
“Aerosol-assisted chemical vapor deposition is a technique used to produce high-quality, uniform thin films on various surfaces, including silicon, by delivering a vapor phase precursor in the form of an aerosol,” explained lead author of the study, Dr Kunal Ghosh. “The aerosol enables the deposition of a wide range of oxide-based materials with high precision, making it a versatile and cost-effective method for various applications in materials science and engineering.”
At present, the equipment needed for the production of nanometric thin films of nickel oxide has to be imported and high cost of precursors used for the development of these films makes the process expensive, hence it is less likely to become commercially viable.
Ghosh pointed out that since the whole process including the equipment is developed in-house, the generated IP will contribute towards Atmanirbharta (self-reliance) in the area of advanced architecture silicon solar cells for India.
Their research is still in the early stages of development meaning at the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 3. However, it can be scaled up to enhance the fabrication process of advanced architecture silicon PV devices, with further development.
Titled Aerosol-assisted CVD of nickel oxide on silicon for hole selective contact layers, the research was published in the Materials Science scientific journal.
Recently, TaiyangNews concluded our 1st Cell Production Equipment & Processing Materials Conference that explored manufacturing of advanced solar cells at low cost where discussion also revolved around the various deposition technologies used by PV manufacturers. Details of the agenda, conference summary and presentations are available for free on our website.