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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

First Advisor

Qihua Fan

Second Advisor

David W. Galipeau


Reflection of light by silicon surfaces without antireflection coatings results in a loss of over 35% of the total solar energy. Several antireflection techniques have been used to reduce the reflection of silicon including antireflection coatings, textured surfaces, and porous surfaces. These techniques require either expensive equipment or corrosive chemicals. Therefore, there is a need for an inexpensive, quick, simple, safe and environmentally friendly method for making textured silicon to achieve broadband antireflection for solar cell applications. The goal of this dissertation research was to establish a novel plasma electrolysis process to create textured silicon surfaces without using corrosive or toxic chemicals to achieve broad-spectrum anti-reflection for solar cells and to understand the chemical reactions and physical processes that occur during plasma electrolysis for making textured silicon. Textured or rough surfaces can reduce light reflection due to light scattering or destructive interference. Textured and porous silicon surfaces were fabricated using different solvent compositions and electrolytes. The obtained surfaces were characterized using UV-2600 spectrophotometer with an integrating sphere, SEM, AFM, and Raman spectroscopy. It was found that the electrolyte used and solvent composition were the main factors that influence the obtained surface structure on silicon substrates. When textured surfaces were formed during plasma electrolysis, chemical reactions were dominant. When cratered or porous silicon surfaces were obtained, the physical processes were dominant. In this work, the chemical reactions and physical processes that occur during plasma electrolysis have been decoupled for the first time and enabled the creation of different surface morphologies (e.g., textured, cratered and porous) without corrosive chemicals.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Silicon solar cells--Materials
Photovoltaic power generation


Includes bibliographical references (pages 97-131)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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