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Thin-Film Processing for Solar Cells

by Suleman


The integrated system for solar cells can be developed in a smaller region instead of a large area with the economic structures. The process can be carried out by depositing the electrolyte layer in the next room. Thin-film processing for solar cells is based on different physical vapor deposition methodologies, deposition of organic vapour, deposition of pulsed lasers, and the sol-gel method. The testimony of the photosensitive layer in the present work is by the electrode layer. The technique used in the process permits a connection between three layers, and these layers are insulated solar cells (Thalheimer & Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm, 1988).


The integrated system includes connections of layers in series for the three layers. The coating formation is itself a complicated process; the first layer is the electrolyte layer, then a photoemissive layer and the third layer is the electrode layer. The photoemissive layer is the composition of sublayers. The methodology used in the process is DE-OS No 28 39 038, and the intended outcome is the development of a series of connection layers (Thalheimer & Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm, 1988). The first layer is a barrier layer composed of tin oxide, and the glass substrate is used for the formation of the layer (Thalheimer & Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm, 1988). The second layer is formed of cadmium sulfide and cuprous sulfide (Copper Sulphide I). The process consists of two steps, including

  1. Separation of each solar cell.
  2. Preparation of photoemissive layer in the first electrode layer.
  3. The first step is done by punching and miter cutting; on the other hand, the second step is done by electro erosion, etching, laser irradiation, and masking.

The photoemissive layer is produced by removing the coating from the center to generate a gap in the photosensitive layer. The margin is displaced in the removal method. After generating the interval, two insulating masses were applied to the narrow layer gaps produced on the electrolyte material (Lee & Ebong, 2015). The insulating groups were exposed to the surface by using the adhesive material. The second layer is produced by chemical vapor deposition on the surface of the material used to form the thin film. The ultrasonic energy was applied on the surface of the material. Due to the application of ultrasonic energy, the copper layer was eroded and produced structures on the material’s surface. All the electrode layers were then electrically connected in a series combination (Thalheimer & Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm, 1988).

The connections were developed on the upper sides of these layers. Even the production method was expensive, but on the industrial level, the production of solar cells can be increased by thin-film development on cells’ electrodes. The second layer’s application by the vapor deposition process and separation process was interrupted by adhesive element and insulating masses on both sides. The insulating material becomes superfluous for the second layer and structures produced on the electrolyte (Lee & Ebong, 2015).

How it Works

The thin layer produced on the surface behaves distinctly for the series of connections. There are four sub-layers constructed of silicon; the initial three layers of the electrode are transparent and made of indium tin oxide. There are different possibilities for creating layers with other materials (Thalheimer & Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm, 1988). The possible layers of material are mentioned below,

Possibility 1 The photosensitive layer contains 4 sub-layers of silica.


Electrode Layer

3 transparent conducting oxides

Indium tin oxide

Electrode layer

5 thin metal layers
aluminum, silver, titanium, gold, nickel

Possibility 2 The photosensitive layer contains 3 sub layers of glass


Electrode Layer

3 transparent layers of silica

Electrode layer

Light irradiation of the separate layer

(Thalheimer & Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm, 1988)

The covered gap in the first and second layers is necessary to apply insulating metals on the edges. In the mentioned process, three layers are deposited on the surface and each layer has its properties based on the nature of the material used in the process. The electrode layer in the solar cell is a conductive material and comprises the etching process. The individual properties of the materials used for the formation of a thin layer on the section have a significant impact on the electrical and other properties of the material used in the shape of the solar cell (Lee & Ebong, 2015).

Thin-Film Processing for Solar Cells

Figure 1: Thin layer formation (Thalheimer & Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm, 1988)


The advantage of using the thin film process was for the improvement of solar cells. The individuality of processing is the overall performance of the cells. The separation of the photosensitive layer is for massive area deposition and layer structuring. The advantage of using thin-film methodology can be inferred for higher and relatively subsequent disclosure. The electrode changes’ properties due to the addition of thin film on the surface and electrode layer individuality are more extensive area deposition process at the commercial level (Thalheimer & Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm, 1988). The formation of all the layers is different and innovative that can be applied to any layer formation process and at any scale. Many methods can deposition the thin film, and pulse laser ablation is the most efficient way to form a thin layer on the substrate’s surface. The laser ablation is a process of removing the material from the body of material, and plasma formed during the process decays and then produces a thin layer of atoms on the substrate (Lee & Ebong, 2015).


The thin layer process is getting more attraction due to efficient outcomes of the material’s process and economic processing. The layer produced on the surface induces variation in the structural morphology of material, thermal properties of the material, and the material’s electrical properties. The deposition of the layer can be an ambient environment of gasses and in the vacuum. In the vacuum process, the material is removed from the target surface and then deposited on the substrate. The initially drawn particles are deposited on the surface. The addition of a thin layer on the body improves solar cells’ lifetime and works as resistant to corrosion. The insulating mass on the edges of the electrolyte layer and gap produces structures on the surface (Lee & Ebong, 2015).

Thin-Film Processing for Solar Cells

Figure 2: insulating metal added to edges (Thalheimer & Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm, 1988)


The integrated cells and system for the solar cells can be generated by applying a thin-film solar cell method on the surface of the substrate. In this process, the layer is deposited on the surface that increases material properties. The deposited layer sequences are composed of substrate and layer sequence for the first and second electrodes. The deposition of the surface layer and electrode layer can be applied to different areas such as larger and nanometer areas. The location of the electrode is always determined earlier than the processing. The exposed area’s margin is also predetermined, which applies to the insulating material and marginal zone.

  • Lee, T. D., & Ebong, A. (2015). Thin-film solar technologies: a review. 2015 12th International Confe, 2(397), 1-10.
  • Thalheimer, K., & Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm. (1988). PROCEDURE FOR PRODUCING AN INTEGRATED SYSTEM OF THIN FILM SOLAR CELLS CONNECTED IN SERIES. United States Patent, 01(01), 1-4.

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