AIST has developed a thin-film technology that can reduce the consumption of raw selenium below one-tenth of the conventional standard when manufacturing non-silicon-based copper-indium- gallium- selenide (CIGS) thin-film solar cells. The technology uses radio-frequency- cracked selenium radicals instead of conventional vaporized selenium, enhancing the conversion efficiency of a solar cell, and results in cells of reproducible quality from run to run. Additionally, the technology uses a black metal electrode and a light-absorbing layer containing zinc oxide. This brings about a great advancement for mass production of high-performance CIGS modules.
By reducing the consumption of raw selenium, the technology also reduces the frequency of maintenance done to the system for supplementation of the source materials and/or cleaning of the excess materials that remain inside the chamber. The CIGS films fabricated with this new technology have a smooth and dense surface, with large grains.
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