The photovoltaic industry is in a phase of rapid expansion, growing by more than 30% per annum over the last few decades. Almost all commercial solar cells presently use single-crystalline or multicrystalline silicon wafers similar to those used in microelectronics; meanwhile, thin-film compounds and alloy solar cells are currently under development. The laboratory performance of these cells, at 26% solar energy conversion efficiency, is now approaching thermodynamic limits, with the challenge being to incorporate these improvements into low-cost commercial products. Improvements in the optical design of cells, particularly in their ability to trap weakly absorbed light, have also led to increasing interest in thin-film cells based on polycrystalline silicon; these cells have advantages over other thin-film photovoltaic candidates. This paper provides an overview of silicon-based solar cell research, especially the development of silicon wafers for solar cells, from the viewpoint of growing both single-crystalline and multicrystalline wafers.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)