Solar modules based on thin films reach several times faster energy return than the common wafer-based modules. Millions of such modules m2 are produced annually in the world. Best results so far are expected from nanostructural thin films, so called micro crystalline or nano crystalline silicon, however for these products we have to find new methods for measuring their properties with resolution down to nanometres.
The atomic force microscopy (AFM) can serve as a basis for such methods. Our laboratory has been the first in the world to use the AFM combined with measuring the local current (see the right picture) for research of individual grains in micro-crystalline silicon.
B. Rezek, J. Stuchlík, A. Fejfar, J. Kočka, Appl. Phys. Lett. 74 (1999) 1475
Results gained worldwide publicity and support within series of international projects as for example from the Japanese government organization NEDO (New energy development organization).