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Thin Film Solar Industry,Thin Film Coating,Thin Film Deposition

Thin Film Solar Industry,Thin Film Coating,Thin Film Deposition

Item No.: sputtering target application 4

The sun's energy can be harnessed as either light or heat. The process of converting light (photons) to electricity (voltage) is called the photovoltaic (PV) effect.

To create the PV effect, radiation from the sun ('sunlight') hits a photovoltaic cell. These cells are made up of two layers of semi-conducting material, typically silicon, that have been chemically treated. The industry refers to these layers as P and N. The boundary between P and N acts as a diode allowing electrons to move from N to P, but not from P to N. When photons with sufficient energy hit the cell, they cause electrons to move (from N to P only) causing excess electrons in the N-layer and a shortage in the P layer.

The following graphic sets out the layers within the cell. The top layer is an Anti-Reflective-Coating (ARC) that enhances the light effect of the sun. The N layer is typically semi-conducting silicon doped with phosphorus that creates the free flow of electrons. The P layer is again typically semi-conducting silicon, but this time doped with boron which creates the free flow of positive charges called “holes”. As the holes and electrons are attracted and move towards each other, they create an electrical field across the P-N junction. Sunlight striking this electrical field separates the electrons and holes, creating the voltage.

The voltage pushes the flow of electrons or 'DC current' to contacts at the front and back of the cell where it is conducted away along the wiring circuitry that connects the cells together.

With demand for renewable energies becoming more important, there has been considerable growth of the solar and photovoltaic industry. Along with thin film photovoltaics, solar thermal and concentrated solar power systems offer great alternatives for the energy requirements of the future.

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