High efficiency and high open-circuit voltage quadruple-junction silicon thin film solar cells for future electronic applications†
Conversion of clean and renewable solar energy into electricity with photovoltaic (PV) devices, based on earth-abundant silicon elements to meet increasing global energy demands and environmental sustainability, has motivated various potential industrial and domestic applications. In addition to large-scale electricity production of market-dominant crystalline silicon PVs, the unique properties of silicon-based thin-film solar-cells (TFSCs) make them very attractive as affordable clean and safe energy devices. Herein, with large-scale and mature plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) process that can efficiently fabricate high-performing a-SiC:H, a-SiGe:H, a-Si:H, and μc-Si:H single- and various multi-junction TFSCs, we report a highly-efficient and flexibly tunable monolithic quadruple-junction silicon TFSC with a high photovoltage above 3.0 V and power conversion efficiency of 15.03% (NREL measured 14.58%). Our proposed high-voltage silicon TFSCs, with excellent performance, can further enrich the toolbox for functional photoelectrical devices and inspire possible future applications as highly promising power supply sources in charging electronics, splitting and disinfecting water, powering household electronic devices, solar to CO2 reduction, and other possible applications.