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Surface passivation of silicon solar cells using plasma-enhanced chemical-vapour-deposited SiN films and thin thermal SiO2/plasma SiN stacks




Schmidt, Jan
Kerr, Mark John
Cuevas, Andres

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Institute of Physics Publishing


Two different techniques for the electronic surface passivation of silicon solar cells, the plasma-enhanced chemical vapour deposition of silicon nitride (SiN) and the fabrication of thin thermal silicon oxide/plasma SiN stack structures, are investigated. It is demonstrated that, despite their low thermal budget, both techniques are capable of giving an outstanding surface passivation quality on the low-resistivity (∼1 _ cm) p-Si base as well as on n+-diffused solar cell emitters with the oxide/nitride stacks showing a much better thermal stability. Both techniques are then applied to fabricate front and rear-passivated silicon solar cells. Open-circuit voltages in the vicinity of 670 mV are obtained with both passivation techniques on float-zone single-crystalline silicon wafers, demonstrating the outstanding surface passivation quality of the applied passivation schemes on real devices. All-SiN passivated multicrystalline silicon solar cells achieve an open-circuit voltage of 655 mV, which is amongst the highest open-circuit voltages attained on this kind of substrate material. The high open-circuit voltage of the multicrystalline silicon solar cells results not only from the excellent degree of surface passivation but also from the ability of the cell fabrication to maintain a relatively high bulk lifetime (>20 µs) due to the low thermal budget of the surface passivation process.



silicon solar cells, SiN films, PECVD, low-resistivity p-Si surfaces, SiN passivation, thermal stability, emitters



Semiconductor Science and Technology


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