Dr. Corinne Packard along with one current (Anna Braun) and two former (John Mangum & Jason Chenenko) CCAC graduate Students as well as NREL collaborators, recently published in the high impact journal, Advanced Energy Materials.
High-Efficiency Solar Cells Grown on Spalled Germanium for Substrate Reuse without Polishing
Radical reduction of III–V device costs requires a multifaceted approach attacking both growth and substrate costs. Implementing device removal and substrate reuse provides an opportunity for substrate cost reduction. Controlled spalling allows removal of thin devices from the expensive substrate; however, the fracture-based process currently generates surfaces with significant morphological changes compared to polished wafers. 49 single junction devices are fabricated across the spalled surface of full 50 mm germanium wafers without chemo-mechanical polishing before epitaxial growth. Device defects are identified and related to morphological spalling defects—arrest lines, gull wings, and river lines—and their impact on cell performance using physical and functional characterization techniques. River line defects have the most consistent and detrimental effect on cell performance. Devices achieve a single junction efficiency above 23% and open-circuit voltage of 1.01 V, demonstrating that spalled germanium does not need to be returned to a pristine, polished state to achieve high-quality device performance.