Luminescence studies of thin films in silicon photovoltaics (PhD project)



Thin films deposited on crystalline silicon surfaces are critical components of many silicon-based devices, including high-efficiency photovoltaic cells. These layers can serve various functions, including reducing recombination at the surface, increasing light absorption, and acting as a source of hydrogen for defect passivation. Knowledge of their optical and electronic properties is important in designing and fabricating efficient solar cells, especially as the device complexity increases and includes micron-scale features. Many these films on silicon wafers can emit photoluminescence signals at low temperatures. Their photoluminescence intensities and spectral shapes are very sensitive to the film quality and composition, which affect their optical and electrical properties. This project will investigate these fundamental spectral properties and develop novel luminescence-based techniques to study the film properties.

The project will be experimentally intensive, and will include working with a laser-based confocal microscope and other optical spectroscopy equipment. It will also include detailed physical modelling of the luminescence processes and some device fabrications. It would suit a student with a background in semiconductor engineering or physics. The project will be supervised by Prof Daniel Macdonald and Dr Hieu Nguyen at ANU, and will involve collaboration with researchers at UNSW, NREL in the US, and Fraunhofer-ISE in Germany.

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