Wafer-Scale Growth of Silicon Microwire Arrays for Photovoltaics and Solar Fuel Generation


Silicon microwire arrays have recently demonstrated their potential for low-price, high-efficiency photovoltaics and photoelectrochemical fuel generation. A remaining challenge to making this technology commercially viable is scaling of microwire-array growth. We tend to discuss here a way for vapor–liquid–solid growth of microwire arrays on the size of six-inch wafers employing a cold-wall radio-frequency heated chemical vapor deposition furnace, enabling fairly uniform growth over large areas with speedy cycle time and improved run-to-run reproducibility. We tend to have additionally developed a way to embed these giant-area wire arrays in polymer and to peel them intact from the growth substrate, which could enable light-weight, flexible solar cells with efficiencies as high as multicrystalline Si solar cells. We tend to characterize these massive-area microwire arrays using scanning electron microscopy and confocal microscopy to assess their structure and fidelity, and we test their energy-conversion properties using a methyl viologen (MV$^2+/+$) liquid junction contact in an exceedingly photoelectrochemical cell. Initial photoelectrochemical conversion efficiencies recommend that the fabric quality of these microwire arrays is similar to smaller (∼1 cm$^a pair of$) wire arrays that we have a tendency to have grown within the past, indicating that this technique could be a viable method to scale up microwire-array devices.

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