Scientists at Natcore Technology Inc., in collaboration with researchers at Rice University, have successfully fabricated the first inorganic flexible thin-film solar cell by solution processes.
Using its patented liquid phase deposition (LPD) process, a cadmium/selenium (CdSe) absorber layer has been grown on a single-walled carbon nanotube (SWNT)-derived back contact substrate. The CdSe/SWNT layers show appropriate photo response.
LPD was also used to grow a copper/selenium window layer onto which silver contacts were deposited. The resulting photovoltaic device shows a characteristic IV curve that confirms the potential for this process to form a flexible solar cell. No high-temperature semiconductor processing of any kind was used to make the device.
‘This is a most important milestone along the way to a low-cost flexible solar cell,’ says Natcore's CEO and President Chuck Provini. ‘We've shown the feasibility of using LPD to grow a whole cell on a flexible substrate that remains flexible even with all of the layers.
‘This technology should be adaptable to the production of roll-to-roll solar cells,’ Provini adds. ‘Thin film has been burdened with two problems: low efficiency and high-manufacturing cost. By combining this success with our multi-junction tandem solar cell, we could overcome both of those problems.’