Novellus Systems, a provider of process equipment for the semiconductor industry, has been named a co-recipient of a National Science Foundation grant, along with the University of South Florida (USF), to study the precise engineering of solar cell interfaces.
The company's work with USF will focus on using Novellus' conformal film deposition (CFD) technology, an atomic layer deposition process, to fabricate solar photovoltaic materials.
The Novellus and USF research effort will focus on using CFD to grow conformal metal oxide and metal nitride dipole layers in the PV cells that exhibit highly controlled atomic layer film thickness and uniformity. By so doing, the team hopes to be able to adjust the band alignment in the cell for optimized charge transfer or blocking, a process that has the potential to controllably enhance both the photocurrent and voltage in the cell.
The goal of the research is to develop scalable manufacturing technology for these large-area dipole layer coatings that will allow PV solar manufacturers to precisely tailor the electronic properties of solar cell structures, leading to increased solar energy conversion, Novellus Systems says.