Researchers at KAUST have developed thin films that can increase the efficiency of solar cells. The design of efficient solar cells plays an integral role while optimizing them for efficiency because their physical structure and crystalline quality come in handy during energy production. Furthermore, the number of charged holes and negatively charged electrons derived from the conversion of photons is also important for optimizing energy efficiency of these cells. The movement of charge carriers also needs to be facilitated in order to ensure that there are no hindrances and energy flow is maintained. As the final step, the transfer of carriers from the cell to the external circuit by means of electrical contacts needs to be fixed.
Methodology to Build Efficient Solar Cells
The KAUST Core Lab and KAUST Solar Center’s workers, in collaboration with the Australian National University, have been developing thin films made of tantalum-nitride in silicon solar cells. This is expected to pave way for high-efficiency solar cells by reducing the effects of carrier recombination and contact resistance inside the cell. The surface of the cell is exposed to a specific gas which results in the formation of a thin, yet strong, film.
Developing New efficient Solar Cells
The tantalum nitride-silicon was scrutinized to get an idea of its electrical properties which showed that a tantalum nitride interlayer could substantially reduce the barriers in the flow of electrons from metal contacts of aluminium, silver, or silicon. Following this experiment, the team of researchers developed a silicon solar cell, and showed that the efficiency of power conversion in this cell increased by a respectable margin.