This contribution reviews some of the latest achievements and challenges in thin-film silicon photovoltaic (PV) technology based on amorphous and nanocrystalline silicon and their alloys. We address material and device developments, including (i) improved plasma deposition processes to achieve high-quality dense absorber materials; (ii) absorber layers based on silicon tetrafluoride, which lead to enhanced absorption in the near-infrared and yield outstanding short-circuit current densities; (iii) dedicated optimization of the interfaces and device architecture, as well as (iv) enhanced light harvesting by means of multi-scale textured substrates and reduced parasitic absorption in the non-active layers. This paper will describe how, by combining all of these advances along with precise control of plasmas over large areas, key results have been achieved in recent years, at both the cell and large-area module level, with stabilized efficiencies of over 13 and 12%, respectively.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.mattod.2015.03.002