Researchers at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum and University of Wuppertal have developed a new fabrication process for transparent ultra-thin silver films that can help improve efficiency of solar cell.
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A team of scientists headed by Professor Anjana Devi and Nils Boysen from the research group Inorganic Materials Chemistry is working on this study. The research is being done in collaboration with another group led by Professor Thomas Reidl from the Chair of Electronic Devices in Wuppertal. The groups have published an article that covers a new method of synthesis of the films in the journal Angewandte Chemie.
According to Nils Boysen, the precursor materials used for the fabrication of ultra-thin silver films are highly sensitive to air and light. The silver precursors can however be made stable by using fluorine, oxygen, and phosphorus. However, the researcher also tells that these elements can contaminate the thin films along with the equipment used for their production. The researchers including Boysen and his colleagues have now developed a radical alternative solution to solve the problems associated with common silver precursors.
The researchers made a chemical silver precursor, wherein the silver is surrounded by an amide and a carbine. This has caused the entire setup to remain stable without the presence of elements like fluorine, phosphorous, and oxygen. The researchers also demonstrated that a silver thin film can be applied to an electrode with the new precursor by through atomic layer deposition. The process involve transfer of gaseous precursor to the electrode, wherein the silver film is deposited in the form of a layer having a thickness more than a few atoms. Due to the film being very thin, it is very transparent. The process can be entirely operated under atmospheric pressure and at low temperatures too.