Researchers from Germany's HZB Institute for Silicon Photovoltaics discovered that graphene retains its impressive conductive properties even when coated with a thin silicon film. The researchers hope this discovery will lead into graphene adoption in thin-film photovoltaics.

The researchers grew a graphene sheet on a copper, and transferred it to a glass substrate. Then they coated it with a silicon layer. They tested both amorphous silicon (a-Si) and poly-crystalline silicon. Measurements of carrier mobility using the Hall-effect showed that the mobility of charge carriers within the embedded graphene layer is roughly 30 times greater than that of conventional zinc oxide based contact layers.

Actually connecting this graphene layer to external contracts is very challenging, but this research at least shows that graphene can potentially be incorporated into thin-film PV cells.

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