Clean Technology 2010

Electrodeposition of Si in a non-oxygenated organic solvent

M. Bechelany, P. Brodard, J. Elias, J. Michler, L. Philippe
EMPA, CH

Keywords: silicon, electrodeposition, amorphous, dense

Abstract:

In applications where larges areas of semiconductors are required, such as photovoltaic power generation, the low cost and comparatively low material demands make the electrodeposition technology attractive in terms of ultimate commercialization. In addition, for application in solar cells, electrodeposition allows one to easily alter both band gap and lattice constant by composition modulation through control electrodeposition parameters. The main problem in electrodeposition of elemental silicon is the large reduction potential of silicon and the high reactivity of most of its compounds to water. Therefore, elemental silicon cannot be obtained from aqueous solutions. This means that the process must be carried out either in high-temperature molten salts or at near-ambient temperature in a nonaqueous electrolyte: ionic liquid or organic solvent under inert atmospheres. However, not only the control of an oxygen free atmosphere is needed during deposition, but also the stabilisation of the layer before exposure to air should be controlled, for limiting possible oxidation of the deposit. In this talk, we will present our efforts in the deposition of oxygen-free silicon, the stabilization of the Si deposit before exposure to air and finally the optimization of the process in order to tune the thickness and the porosity of the layer to have the best photovoltaic absorption.
 
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