Review and Data Analysis of Hydrogen Passivated Amorphous Silicon and Microcrystalline Photovoltaic Cells
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Of all the technologies harnessing renewable energy, one of the most promising and exciting is that of solar power. Solar power, via the photovoltaic (PV) effect, has been around since the mid-1950's. Applications for solar power are diverse. In the beginning, it was mainly used in the space program and was too expensive for consumers and broad usage. Today however, solar power is beginning to become a viable and economically competitive energy alternative. In current solar cell research and development, scientists employ many diverse technological strategies and devices. Of all the PV technologies, the cheapest and most promising bet for a large consumer market, is that of amorphous (or non-crystalline) silicon solar cells. Amorphous silicon cells have several advantages that make it attractive in comparison to the standard crystalline Silicon cells or other exotic PV technologies. It's quick and easy to make, it tolerates impurities, and Withstands significant abuse before failing. Due to material properties of non-crystalline solids, amorphous silicon solar cells can be made thinner and lighter, and produced at low cost. Applications of amorphous silicon cells are broad and far-reaching and are gaining support and interest from a wide range of business sectors. This paper will describe and compare the basic semiconductor physics and basic electronic properties of a crystalline solar cell to that of the basics of noncrystalline solar cells. There will be a presentation of personally collected data to outline various properties of amorphous silicon cells to simply describe experimental techniques used in researching this fascinating material. Furthermore, there will be a brief description of research into a new amorphous silicon cell employing the use of "micro-crystalline" materials. Because of the broad and complicated nature of semiconductor physics, only the essential basics will be outlined.