Special Issue "Next Generation Photovoltaic Solar Cells"

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Energy".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2018).

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Allen M. Barnett Website E-Mail
AmberWave, Inc., 45 Northwestern Drive Salem, NH 03079, United States
Interests: creating innovative concepts for sustainable electricity generation based on rigorous, quantitative, and predictive models. Specific work includes the design, fabrication, and analysis of high-efficiency solar cells, modules, and systems; new high efficiency solar cell modules; thin crystalline silicon (20+%) and tandem solar cells on silicon (30+%)
Guest Editor
Dr. Richard Corkish Website E-Mail
Chief Operating Officer, Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics; University of New South Wales, Sydney NSW 2052, Australia
Interests: explore life cycle assessment of different sorts of solar cells; how solar modules in stand-alone systems can benefit the lives of people in remote islands of the Pacific Ocean; impacts of light/shade on bifacial modules
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Christiana Honsberg Website E-Mail
Professor, School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85281, USA
Interests: Ultra-high efficiency solar cells; Silicon solar cells
Guest Editor
Dr. Michael Woodhouse Website E-Mail
Golden, Colorado Laboratories and Offices, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), USA
Interests: Fundamental science of photovoltaics (PV) and solar hydrogen technologies; Economics of PV - From manufacturing to levelized cost of energy (LCOE); Manufacturing costs, systems-level installation costs and LCOE estimates for PV technologies; Capital costs and LCOE estimates for other power generating technologies, including other renewables and also the traditional sources

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

You are cordially invited to submit your original research or review papers to this Special Issue on “Next Generation Photovoltaic Solar Cells” in Applied Sciences.

This Special Issue will focus on the science and engineering of the next generations of photovoltaics.  Photovoltaics have achieved extraordinary growth over the past few decades.  This growth has been stimulated by the high performance and low cost of silicon wafer based solar cells.  Nonetheless, we are in the early stages of PV (photovoltaic) applications.

This Special issue is directed to a view beyond present products, concepts and applications. Among the areas of interest are the values of efficiency, durability, lightweight, flexibility, device integration, storage and system integration.

Some specific topics include advances in commercial Si (PERC, SHJ), III-Vs, perovskites, CdTe, CIGS, other new materials. Single junction, tandem solar cells, concentrators, new concepts and devices are welcome. Some new research areas include carrier selective contacts for Si PV, low cost III-V growth, cell interconnection, encapsulation and reliability.

Some specific new application areas include photovoltaics for lightweight industrial and commercial roofs, factory integration for increased markets and reduced kWh costs and portable (transportable) applications.  Other new areas include persistent drone aircraft and other specialty high performance requirements. Integrated systems and applications that are scalable and can be integrated are solicited. 

This Special Issue is an opportunity to describe visions as we enter a period of ubiquitous photovoltaics or photovoltaics on everything, PVOT.

Prof. Dr. Allen M. Barnett
Prof. Dr. Christiana Honsberg
Dr. Richard Corkish
Dr. Michael Woodhouse
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Applied Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Next generation solar cells (improved silicon and other materials)
  • Comparison of predictive numerical models
  • Integration of PV with applications
  • Value of efficiency
  • New application areas
  • Critical technologies for advancing PV integration
  • Attributes leading to increased value
  • Portable and transportable applications
  • Beyond utility scale systems
  • Multi-TW PV Future
  • Laboratory to market
  • New PV materials

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Evolving Value of Photovoltaic Module Efficiency
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(6), 1227; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9061227 - 23 Mar 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
PV research is making efforts to create new cell and module efficiency records, while the manufacturing industry and the downstream project developers want to choose the optimal efficiency point where the best economics can be achieved at the system level. In this paper, [...] Read more.
PV research is making efforts to create new cell and module efficiency records, while the manufacturing industry and the downstream project developers want to choose the optimal efficiency point where the best economics can be achieved at the system level. In this paper, we define representative system cost structurers for various applications in 2018 and quantify the value of greater module efficiency in lowering the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE). With the transparent methodology, we also extended the analysis into the future until 2025. As the value of module efficiency resides in non-module costs and the non-module costs will account for a higher percentage for a PV system in the future, industry will develop stronger motivation to adopt more efficient modules. Specifically, we examined the economics of bifacial modules and forecast that its market share would grow from 3% in 2018 to 40% in 2025. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Next Generation Photovoltaic Solar Cells)
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Open AccessArticle
Aluminum-Doped Zinc Oxide as Front Electrode for Rear Emitter Silicon Heterojunction Solar Cells with High Efficiency
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(5), 862; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9050862 - 28 Feb 2019
Abstract
Transparent conductive oxide (TCO) layers of aluminum-doped zinc oxide (ZnO:Al) were investigated as a potential replacement of indium tin oxide (ITO) for the front contact in silicon heterojunction (SHJ) solar cells in the rear emitter configuration. It was found that ZnO:Al can be [...] Read more.
Transparent conductive oxide (TCO) layers of aluminum-doped zinc oxide (ZnO:Al) were investigated as a potential replacement of indium tin oxide (ITO) for the front contact in silicon heterojunction (SHJ) solar cells in the rear emitter configuration. It was found that ZnO:Al can be tuned to yield cell performance almost at the same level as ITO with a power conversion efficiency of 22.6% and 22.8%, respectively. The main reason for the slight underperformance of ZnO:Al compared to ITO was found to be a higher contact resistivity between this material and the silver grid on the front side. An entirely indium-free SHJ solar cell, replacing the ITO on the rear side by ZnO:Al as well, reached a power conversion efficiency of 22.5%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Next Generation Photovoltaic Solar Cells)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Effects of Co-Solvents on the Performance of PEDOT:PSS Films and Hybrid Photovoltaic Devices
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(11), 2052; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8112052 - 25 Oct 2018
Abstract
Hybrid silicon solar cells have been fabricated by the spin coating of conductive polymer poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS) as a p-type contact on textured n-type crystalline silicon wafers. The effect of adding co-solvents, ethylene glycol (EG) and dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO), to PEDOT:PSS improves its conductivity [...] Read more.
Hybrid silicon solar cells have been fabricated by the spin coating of conductive polymer poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS) as a p-type contact on textured n-type crystalline silicon wafers. The effect of adding co-solvents, ethylene glycol (EG) and dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO), to PEDOT:PSS improves its conductivity which translates to the improved performance of solar cells. Transfer length measurements were conducted to realize optimal contact with minimal losses between the front metal contact (silver) and PEDOT:PSS. From the conductivity and device results, a 7% EG with 0.25 wt% Triton (surfactant) blend of PEDOT:PSS is found to be optimal for these cells. This current approach with a few changes in the device architecture will pave way for the further improvement of PEDOT:PSS based hybrid silicon solar cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Next Generation Photovoltaic Solar Cells)
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Open AccessArticle
Electro-Physical Interpretation of the Degradation of the Fill Factor of Silicon Heterojunction Solar Cells Due to Incomplete Hole Collection at the a-Si:H/c-Si Thermionic Emission Barrier
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(10), 1846; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8101846 - 08 Oct 2018
Abstract
An electro-physical interpretation for the degradation of the Fill Factor in p+/n silicon heterojunction solar cells (SHJ) due to incomplete hole collection at the thermionic emission barrier at the amorphous/crystalline silicon (a-Si:H/c-Si) hetero-interface is proposed supported by results of AFORS-HET device [...] Read more.
An electro-physical interpretation for the degradation of the Fill Factor in p+/n silicon heterojunction solar cells (SHJ) due to incomplete hole collection at the thermionic emission barrier at the amorphous/crystalline silicon (a-Si:H/c-Si) hetero-interface is proposed supported by results of AFORS-HET device simulations. Under illumination, reflected holes at the thermionic barrier pile up at the hetero-interface which strengthens the dipole with the negative dopant ions in the doped a-Si:H(p+) layer and enhances the electric field passing through the a-Si:H layer. Such an enhanced electric field sweeps back the free holes spilling over in the intrinsic a-Si:H(i) layer from the a-Si:H(p+) layer considerably depleting the double a-Si:H layer and enhancing its resistance and the overall cell series resistance. Therefore, the degradation due to incomplete hole collection at the thermionic emission barrier under illumination can be assimilated to the effect of a series resistance does not affect the cell open circuit voltage but degrades only its fill factor. The resistance enhancement is found to be bias-dependent and to increase with decreasing the doping level in a-Si:H(p+). Predictions of the proposed model for different hole reflection probability at the barrier and for different thicknesses of the intrinsic a-Si:H(i) layer agree perfectly with the results of simulations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Next Generation Photovoltaic Solar Cells)
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Open AccessArticle
Sub-Wavelength Scale Si Inverted Pyramid Fabrication with Enhanced Size Control by Using Silica Sphere Lithography Technique
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(10), 1720; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8101720 - 22 Sep 2018
Abstract
In this paper, we present a novel silicon (Si) subwavelength-scale surface structure (SWSS) fabrication process using the silica sphere (SS) lithography technique, which allows controllable geometries. The process involves a new cost-effective solvent-controlled spin-coating method that deposits SS on large Si surface areas [...] Read more.
In this paper, we present a novel silicon (Si) subwavelength-scale surface structure (SWSS) fabrication process using the silica sphere (SS) lithography technique, which allows controllable geometries. The process involves a new cost-effective solvent-controlled spin-coating method that deposits SS on large Si surface areas with enhanced SS monolayer coverage and uniformity compared to conventional methods. The larger areas and rapid, low cost processing allow colloidal sphere lithography to be realistically used for solar cells. We successfully demonstrate 1.57 μm diameter SS on a 2-inch round Si wafer with more than 95% SS monolayer coverage and great uniformity. Using these deposited SS, a SWSS fabrication process was designed and successfully demonstrated Si inverted pyramid structures with dimension on the order of 1.1 μm, thus potentially providing a new technique for effective light-management of thin crystalline Si solar cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Next Generation Photovoltaic Solar Cells)
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Open AccessArticle
Post-Sputtering Heat Treatments of Molybdenum on Silicon Wafer
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(9), 1692; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8091692 - 18 Sep 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
This paper investigated the property evolutions of Mo thin films that were subjected to post-sputtering heat treatments from 700 °C to 1100 °C. It was found that, after annealing, the use of Si wafers eliminated crack formations found in previously reported Mo thin [...] Read more.
This paper investigated the property evolutions of Mo thin films that were subjected to post-sputtering heat treatments from 700 °C to 1100 °C. It was found that, after annealing, the use of Si wafers eliminated crack formations found in previously reported Mo thin films sputtered on fused silica substrates. The recrystallization of the Mo thin film was found to start at 900 °C, which led to rearrangements of the preferred crystalline orientation and enhancement of grain size when the annealing temperature was further increased. The electrical conductivity of the Mo thin films was majorly affected by the increase of Mo crystallite size as the annealing temperature was increased. Overall, the improvement of material sustainability and compatibility in the high temperature annealing process has made it positive to implement a Mo-Si contact-substrate scheme for vertical structured Si QDs solar cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Next Generation Photovoltaic Solar Cells)
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Open AccessArticle
Molecular Controlling the Transport Properties for Benzothiadiazole-Based Hole Transport Materials
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(9), 1461; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8091461 - 25 Aug 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Three experimental hole transport materials containing fluorine-substituted benzothiadiazole-based organic molecules (Jy5–Jy7) have been studied to explore the relationship between photoelectric performances and the core structures of hole transport materials (HTM). By employing density functional theory (DFT) and time-dependent density functional theory (TD-DFT), it [...] Read more.
Three experimental hole transport materials containing fluorine-substituted benzothiadiazole-based organic molecules (Jy5–Jy7) have been studied to explore the relationship between photoelectric performances and the core structures of hole transport materials (HTM). By employing density functional theory (DFT) and time-dependent density functional theory (TD-DFT), it was found that the substitution of the hydrogen atom by fluorine atom in the core structure can significantly boost the hole mobility; and the replacement of core structure from electron-withdrawing group to electron-donating group has strong influence on the increment of LUMO level energy, ability to preventing electron-backflow, molecular stability and oscillator strength of HTM molecules. We hope our investigation can provide theoretical guidance to reasonably optimize HTM molecules for perovskite solar cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Next Generation Photovoltaic Solar Cells)
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Open AccessArticle
Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of End-of-Life Silicon Solar Photovoltaic Modules
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(8), 1396; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8081396 - 18 Aug 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
The cumulative global photovoltaic (PV) waste reached 250,000 metric tonnes by the end of 2016 and is expected to increase considerably in the future. Hence, adequate end-of-life (EoL) management for PV modules must be developed. Today, most of the EoL modules go to [...] Read more.
The cumulative global photovoltaic (PV) waste reached 250,000 metric tonnes by the end of 2016 and is expected to increase considerably in the future. Hence, adequate end-of-life (EoL) management for PV modules must be developed. Today, most of the EoL modules go to landfill, mainly because recycling processes for PV modules are not yet economically feasible and regulation in most countries is not yet well established. Nevertheless, several methods for recycling PV modules are under development. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a methodology that quantifies the environmental impacts of a process or a product. An attributional LCA was undertaken to compare landfill, incineration, reuse and recycling (mechanical, thermal and chemical routes) of EoL crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar modules, based on a combination of real process data and assumptions. The results show that recovery of materials from solar modules results in lower environmental impacts compared to other EoL scenarios, considering our assumptions. The impacts could be even lower with the adoption of more complex processes that can reclaim more materials. Although recycling processes can achieve good recycling rates and recover almost all materials from solar modules, attention must be paid to the use of toxic substances during the chemical routes of recycling and to the distance to recycling centres due to the impacts of transportation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Next Generation Photovoltaic Solar Cells)
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Open AccessCommunication
Solution-Processed CdTe Thin-Film Solar Cells Using ZnSe Nanocrystal as a Buffer Layer
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(7), 1195; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8071195 - 21 Jul 2018
Abstract
The CdTe nanocrystal (NC) is an outstanding, low-cost photovoltaic material for highly efficient solution-processed thin-film solar cells. Currently, most CdTe NC thin-film solar cells are based on CdSe, ZnO, or CdS buffer layers. In this study, a wide bandgap and Cd-free ZnSe NC [...] Read more.
The CdTe nanocrystal (NC) is an outstanding, low-cost photovoltaic material for highly efficient solution-processed thin-film solar cells. Currently, most CdTe NC thin-film solar cells are based on CdSe, ZnO, or CdS buffer layers. In this study, a wide bandgap and Cd-free ZnSe NC is introduced for the first time as the buffer layer for all solution-processed CdTe/ZnSe NC hetero-junction thin-film solar cells with a configuration of ITO/ZnO/ZnSe/CdTe/MoOx/Au. The dependence of the thickness of the ZnSe NC film, the annealing temperature and the chemical treatment on the performance of NC solar cells are investigated and discussed in detail. We further develop a ligand-exchanging strategy that involves 1,2-ethanedithiol (EDT) during the fabrication of ZnSe NC film. An improved power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 3.58% is obtained, which is increased by 16.6% when compared to a device without the EDT treatment. We believe that using ZnSe NC as the buffer layer holds the potential for developing high-efficiency, low cost, and stable CdTe NC-based solar cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Next Generation Photovoltaic Solar Cells)
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Open AccessArticle
Spectrally-Selective Energy-Harvesting Solar Windows for Public Infrastructure Applications
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(6), 849; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8060849 - 23 May 2018
Cited by 9
Abstract
A study of photovoltaic solar window technologies is reported and it focuses on their structural features, functional materials, system development, and suitability for use in practical field applications including public infrastructures and agricultural installations. Energy generation performance characteristics are summarized and compared to [...] Read more.
A study of photovoltaic solar window technologies is reported and it focuses on their structural features, functional materials, system development, and suitability for use in practical field applications including public infrastructures and agricultural installations. Energy generation performance characteristics are summarized and compared to theory-limit predictions. Working examples of pilot-trial solar window-based installations are described. We also report on achieving electric power outputs of about 25 Wp/m2 from clear and transparent large-area glass-based solar windows. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Next Generation Photovoltaic Solar Cells)
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Open AccessArticle
Uncertainty Propagation of Spectral Matching Ratios Measured Using a Calibrated Spectroradiometer
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(2), 186; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8020186 - 26 Jan 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
The international standard IEC62670-3 (International Electrotechnical Committee) “Photovoltaic Concentrators (CPV) Performance Testing—Part 3—Performance Measurements and Power Rating” sets the guidelines for power measurements of a CPV device, both in indoor and outdoor conditions. When measuring in outdoor conditions, the acquired data have to [...] Read more.
The international standard IEC62670-3 (International Electrotechnical Committee) “Photovoltaic Concentrators (CPV) Performance Testing—Part 3—Performance Measurements and Power Rating” sets the guidelines for power measurements of a CPV device, both in indoor and outdoor conditions. When measuring in outdoor conditions, the acquired data have to be filtered a posteriori, in order to select only those points measured with ambient conditions close to the Concentrator Standard Operating Conditions (CSOC). The most stringent requirement to be met is related to the three Spectral Matching Ratios (SMR), which have all to be within the limit of 1.00 ± 0.03. SMR are usually determined by the ratio of the currents of component cells to monitor the outdoor spectral ratio conditions during the CPV device power measurements. Experience demonstrates that obtaining real world data meeting these strict conditions is very difficult in practice. However, increasing the acceptable range would make the entire filtering process less appropriate from a physical point of view. Given the importance of correctly measuring the SMR, an estimation of their associated measurement uncertainties is needed to allow a proper assessment of the validity of the 3% limit. In this study a Monte Carlo simulation has been used, to allow the estimation of the propagation of uncertainties in expressions having the and integral form. The method consists of applying both random and wavelength correlated errors to the measured spectra and to the measured spectral responses of the three CPV cell junctions, according to the measurement uncertainties of the European Solar Test Installation (ESTI). The experimental data used in this study have been acquired during clear sky conditions in May 2016, at ESTI’s facilities in Ispra, northern Italy (45°49′ N 8°37′ E). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Next Generation Photovoltaic Solar Cells)
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Review

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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
A Review: Thermal Stability of Methylammonium Lead Halide Based Perovskite Solar Cells
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(1), 188; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9010188 - 07 Jan 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Perovskite solar cells have achieved photo-conversion efficiencies greater than 20%, making them a promising candidate as an emerging solar cell technology. While perovskite solar cells are expected to eventually compete with existing silicon-based solar cells on the market, their long-term stability has become [...] Read more.
Perovskite solar cells have achieved photo-conversion efficiencies greater than 20%, making them a promising candidate as an emerging solar cell technology. While perovskite solar cells are expected to eventually compete with existing silicon-based solar cells on the market, their long-term stability has become a major bottleneck. In particular, perovskite films are found to be very sensitive to external factors such as air, UV light, light soaking, thermal stress and others. Among these stressors, light, oxygen and moisture-induced degradation can be slowed by integrating barrier or interface layers within the device architecture. However, the most representative perovskite absorber material, CH3NH3PbI3 (MAPbI3), appears to be thermally unstable even in an inert environment. This poses a substantial challenge for solar cell applications because device temperatures can be over 45 °C higher than ambient temperatures when operating under direct sunlight. Herein, recent advances in resolving thermal stability problems are highlighted through literature review. Moreover, the most recent and promising strategies for overcoming thermal degradation are also summarized. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Next Generation Photovoltaic Solar Cells)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Eliminating Light-Induced Degradation in Commercial p-Type Czochralski Silicon Solar Cells
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8010010 - 22 Dec 2017
Cited by 16
Abstract
This paper discusses developments in the mitigation of light-induced degradation caused by boron-oxygen defects in boron-doped Czochralski grown silicon. Particular attention is paid to the fabrication of industrial silicon solar cells with treatments for sensitive materials using illuminated annealing. It highlights the importance [...] Read more.
This paper discusses developments in the mitigation of light-induced degradation caused by boron-oxygen defects in boron-doped Czochralski grown silicon. Particular attention is paid to the fabrication of industrial silicon solar cells with treatments for sensitive materials using illuminated annealing. It highlights the importance and desirability of using hydrogen-containing dielectric layers and a subsequent firing process to inject hydrogen throughout the bulk of the silicon solar cell and subsequent illuminated annealing processes for the formation of the boron-oxygen defects and simultaneously manipulate the charge states of hydrogen to enable defect passivation. For the photovoltaic industry with a current capacity of approximately 100 GW peak, the mitigation of boron-oxygen related light-induced degradation is a necessity to use cost-effective B-doped silicon while benefitting from the high-efficiency potential of new solar cell concepts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Next Generation Photovoltaic Solar Cells)
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