Crystalline thin-foil silicon solar cells: Where crystalline quality meets thin-film processing

Frederic Dross, Kris Baert, Twan Bearda, Jan Deckers, Valerie Depauw, Ounsi El Daif, Ivan Gordon, Adel Gougam, Jonathan Govaerts, Stefano Granata, Riet Labie, Xavier Loozen, Roberto Martini, Alex Masolin, Barry O'Sullivan, Yu Qiu, Jan Vaes, Dries Van Gestel, Jan Van Hoeymissen, Anja VanleenhoveKris Van Nieuwenhuysen, Srisaran Venkatachalam, Marc Meuris, Jef Poortmans

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    64 Citations (Scopus)


    Crystalline Si (c-Si) technology is dominating the photovoltaics market. These modules are nonetheless still relatively expensive, in particular because of the costly silicon wafers, which require large thickness mostly to ease handling. Thin-film technologies, on the other hand, use much less active material, exhibit a much lower production cost per unit area, but achieve an efficiency still limited on module level, which increases the total system costs. A meet-in-the-middle is possible and is the object of this paper. The development of c-Si thin-foil modules is presented: first, the fabrication of the active material on a glass module and then the processing of the Si foils into solar cells, directly on module level. The activity of IMEC in this area is put into perspective with regard to worldwide research results. It appears that great opportunities are offered to this cell concept, although some challenges still need to be tackled before cost-effective and reliable industrial production can be launched.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)770-784
    Number of pages15
    JournalProgress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2012



    • crystalline Si
    • epitaxial solar cells
    • kerf-free wafering
    • layer-transfer
    • light trapping
    • low-temperature processing
    • polycrystalline Si
    • reliability
    • silicone
    • thin film

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
    • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
    • Condensed Matter Physics
    • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

    Cite this

    Dross, F., Baert, K., Bearda, T., Deckers, J., Depauw, V., El Daif, O., Gordon, I., Gougam, A., Govaerts, J., Granata, S., Labie, R., Loozen, X., Martini, R., Masolin, A., O'Sullivan, B., Qiu, Y., Vaes, J., Van Gestel, D., Van Hoeymissen, J., ... Poortmans, J. (2012). Crystalline thin-foil silicon solar cells: Where crystalline quality meets thin-film processing. Progress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications, 20(6), 770-784.