Advanced Ceramics / Ceramic Industry News

Tosoh Introduces TCO Sputtering Targets to Improve Solar Cell Efficiency

March 7, 2011
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Tosoh SMD Inc., a group company of Tosoh Corp., has announced the availability of new transparent conducting oxide (TCO) sputtering targets that achieve higher solar cell efficiency than standard targets. The new TCO targets are available in planar and rotary configurations and are composed of either traditional indium tin oxide (ITO) or aluminum zinc oxide (AZO). However, they are doped with performance-enhancing additives, such that thin films deposited from these targets have improved optical properties, such as increased transparency. As a result, the conversion efficiency of solar cells in which these thin films are applied increases more than one point compared with solar cells using thin films from conventional TCO targets.

TCO targets for leading-edge thin film solar applications require a stringent combination of optical, electrical, and mechanical properties, as well as the durability to meet manufacturers’ lifetime expectations. The new ITO and AZO TCO targets meet these requirements with films that are highly transparent, especially in the visible to infrared range, and feature high thermal stability, including under humid conditions.

“This invention will contribute to achieving the goal of 18% energy conversion efficiency with a focus on low-cost and large-scale production,” said Professor Makoto Konagai of the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

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