IIT Mandi Creates Low-Cost Method for Solar Cell Metal Oxide Layers

Researchers produced ultrathin films of metal oxides using cheaper materials


Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Mandi (IIT Mandi) have claimed a breakthrough in producing metal oxide layers for use in advanced architecture silicon solar cells using a cost-effective method.

This innovative process could pave the way for the commercial production of advanced solar cells with improved efficiency and lower costs, contributing to the widespread adoption of renewable energy sources.

Their findings have been published in Materials Science: Materials in Electronics journal.

Metal oxides, such as nickel oxide, are essential materials in the field of advanced architecture silicon solar cells.

These semiconductors play a crucial role in absorbing and converting solar energy into electricity, a process vital for generating renewable energy.

While nickel oxide is important for advanced solar cells, it is expensive because the required films are tiny, and the equipment and materials are costly. Current methods are not practical for commercial use.

The IIT researchers have developed a cost-effective method for producing ultrathin films of metal oxides using cheaper starting materials.

The approach involves using an aerosol-assisted chemical vapor deposition technique to deposit a thin nickel oxide film onto a silicon substrate.

Kunal Ghosh, who led the research team, explained that aerosol-assisted chemical vapor deposition is a technique used to produce high-quality, uniform thin films on various surfaces, including silicon, by delivering a vapor phase precursor as an aerosol.

The team utilized nickel nitrate to create nickel oxide films with a thickness of around 15 nanometres. It analyzed the morphology and composition of the resulting nickel oxide films using various characterization techniques.

The researchers also investigated the diode characteristics of the deposited thin film on the silicon substrate and determined that it was suitable for the production of solar cells.

These findings suggest that the newly developed method for producing nickel oxide films could lead to the development of high-performance, low-cost solar cells with great potential for large-scale commercial use.

In October 2022, researchers of the university claimed to have successfully used microwaves to recycle polymer composites from old wind turbine blades, using a rapid, sustainable, and comparatively eco-friendly method.

In December 2022, researchers at IIT Roorkee said they had successfully developed a prototype of a low-cost, high-quality perovskite solar cell that achieved a stable power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 17.05%.