Silicon-Rich Silicon Carbide Hole-Selective Rear Contacts for Crystalline-Silicon-Based Solar Cells

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Nogay, G.
Stuckelberger, J.
Wyss, P.
Jeangros, Q.
Allebe, C.
Niquille, X.
et al.
The use of passivating contacts compatible with typical homojunction thermal processes is one of the most promising approaches to realizing high-efficiency silicon solar cells. In this work, we investigate an alternative rear-passivating contact targeting facile implementation to industrial p-type solar cells. The contact structure consists of a chemically grown thin silicon oxide layer, which is capped with a boron-doped silicon-rich silicon carbide [SiCx(p)] layer and then annealed at 800-900 degrees C. Transmission electron microscopy reveals that the thin chemical oxide layer disappears upon thermal annealing up to 900 degrees C, leading to degraded surface passivation. We interpret this in terms of a chemical reaction between carbon atoms in the SiCx(p) layer and the adjacent chemical oxide layer. To prevent this reaction, an intrinsic silicon interlayer was introduced between the chemical oxide and the SiCx(p) layer. We show that this intrinsic silicon interlayer is beneficial for surface passivation. Optimized passivation is obtained with a 10-nm-thick intrinsic silicon interlayer, yielding an emitter saturation current density of 17 fA cm(-2) on p-type wafers, which translates into an implied open-circuit voltage of 708 mV. The potential of the developed contact at the rear side is further investigated by realizing a proof-of-concept hybrid solar cell, featuring a heterojunction front-side contact made of intrinsic amorphous silicon and phosphorus-doped amorphous silicon. Even though the presented cells are limited by front-side reflection and front-side parasitic absorption, the obtained cell with a V-oc, of 694.7 mV, a FF of 79.1%, and an efficiency of 20.44% demonstrates the potential of the p(and)/p-wafer full-side-passivated rear-side scheme shown here.
Publication Reference
Acs Applied Materials and Interfaces, vol. 8 (51), pp. 35660-35667, Dec 2016.