Mechanics of thin-film transistors and solar cells on flexible substrates

Helena Gleskova, I. Chun Cheng, Sigurd Wagner, James C. Sturm, Zhigang Suo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Citations (Scopus)


When devices are fabricated on thin foil substrates, any mismatch strain in the device structure makes the work piece curve. Any change of the radius of curvature produces a change in the size of the work piece, and thereby misalignment between individual device layers. To achieve tight tolerances, changes of curvature must be minimized throughout the fabrication process.

Amorphous silicon thin-film transistors and solar cells respond differently to externally applied tensile strain. The elastic deformation of the transistor is correlated with small increase in the electron mobility. When the tensile strain reaches ~ 0.34%, crack formation starts and causes an abrupt change in the transistor performance. The performance of solar cells, on the other hand, does not change for tensile strain up to ~ 0.7%. At larger strain the short-circuit current, open-circuit voltage, fill factor, and the efficiency gradually decrease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)687-693
Number of pages7
JournalSolar Energy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2006


  • amorphous silicon
  • solar cell
  • thin-film transistor
  • flexible electronics

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