Growth and characterization of high-quality, thick InGaN epilayers for high-efficiency, low-cost solar cells
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In the global context of increasing oil prices and public concern regarding the safety of nuclear plants, renewable forms of energy are called upon to play a major role in tomorrow’s energy market. Among the various forms of renewable energies, solar power holds the greatest potential for development. Despite the constant improvement of photovoltaic technologies over the past few year, these technologies are rapidly approaching the theoretic performance limits. New ideas and materials are required to overcome this bottleneck and to take full advantage of solar power. With a band-gap energy spanning the full solar spectrum, and an absorption coefficient ten times higher than competing materials, indium gallium nitride alloys are amongst the most promising solar-cell materials. Nevertheless, fundamental issues related to the fabrication and doping of InGaN alloys still hamper the development of InGaN-based photovoltaics. In the present thesis, conducted within the framework of the ANR project NewPVonGlass, the growth of InGaN alloys suitable for photovoltaics using metalorganic vapor-phase epi- taxy (MOVPE) is studied. A combination of several cutting-edge characterization tools is employed to determine the fundamental mechanism that govern the growth of InGaN. Based on the results of this study, an innovative procedure that allows the growth of hig-quality InGaN epitaxial layers is demonstrated and is used for the fabrication of InGaN-based solar cells.