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A thin-film solar cell (TFSC), also called a thin-film photovoltaic cell (TFPV), is a solar cell that is made by depositing one or more thin layers (thin film) of photovoltaic material on a substrate. The thickness range of such a layer is wide and varies from a few nanometers to tens of micrometers.
Many different photovoltaic materials are deposited with various deposition methods on a variety of substrates. Thin-film solar cells are usually categorized according to the photovoltaic material used:
- Amorphous silicon (a-Si) and other thin-film silicon (TF-Si)
- Cadmium Telluride (CdTe)
- Copper indium gallium selenide (CIS or CIGS)
- Dye-sensitized solar cell (DSC) and other organic solar cells
Silicon thin films
Silicon thin-film cells are mainly deposited by chemical vapor deposition (typically plasma-enhanced, PE-CVD) from silane gas and hydrogen gas. Depending on the deposition parameters, this can yield:
1.Amorphous silicon (a-Si or a-Si:H)
2.Protocrystalline silicon or
3.Nanocrystalline silicon (nc-Si or nc-Si:H), also called microcrystalline silicon.