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Title: CVD-Based Valence-Mending Passivation for Crystalline-Si Solar Cells

The objective of this project is to investigate a new surface passivation technique, valence-mending passivation, for its applications in crystalline-Si solar cells to achieve significant efficiency improvement and cost reduction. As the enabling technique, the project includes the development of chemical vapor deposition recipes to passivate textured Si(100) and multicrystalline-Si surfaces by sulfur and the characterization of the passivated Si surfaces, including thermal stability, Schottky barrier height, contact resistance and surface recombination. One important application is to replace the Ag finger electrode in Si cells with Al to reduce cost, by ~$0.1/Wp, and allow terawatt-scale deployment of crystalline-Si solar cells. These all-Al Si cells require a low-temperature metallization process for the Al electrode, to be compatible with valence-mending passivation and to prevent Al diffusion into n-type Si. Another application is to explore valence-mending passivation of grain boundaries in multicrystalline Si by diffusing sulfur into grain boundaries, to reduce the efficiency gas between monocrystalline-Si solar cells and multicrystalline-Si cells. The major accomplishments of this project include: 1) Demonstration of chemical vapor deposition processes for valence-mending passivation of both monocrystalline Si(100) and multicrystalline Si surfaces. Record Schottky barriers have been demonstrated, with the new record-low barrier of less than 0.08 eV betweenmore » Al and sulfur-passivated n-type Si(100) and the new record-high barrier of 1.14 eV between Al and sulfur-passivated p-type Si(100). On the textured p-type monocrystalline Si(100) surface, the highest barrier with Al is 0.85 eV by valence-mending passivation. 2) Demonstration of a low-temperature metallization process for Al in crystalline-Si solar cells. The new metallization process is based on electroplating of Al in a room-temperature ionic liquid. The resistivity of the electroplated Al is ~7×10–6 ohm-cm, similar to that of screen-printed Ag. 3) Demonstration of two all-Al, Ag-free Si solar cells, with an electroplated Al front electrode and a screen-printed Al back electrode. One cell is an industrial p-type front-emitter cell, and the other is an n-type back-emitter cell. The efficiency of the p-type cell is close to 15%. This is an industrial cell and its efficiency is capped at ~18%. 4) Demonstration of grain boundary passivation by both hydrogen and sulfur using hydrogen sulfide (H2S). When the new grain boundary passivation is combined with Al2O3 surface passivation and post-annealing, the minority carrier lifetime in the p-type multicrystalline Si samples shows a significant improvement up to 68 fold. 5) In a side project, a simple green process is developed which is capable of recycling over 90% of the Si material in end-of-life crystalline-Si solar cells. The recycled Si meets the specifications for solar-grade Si and can be used as a new poly-Si feedstock for ingot growth.« less
  1. Arizona State Univ., Mesa, AZ (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Arizona State Univ., Mesa, AZ (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Solar Energy Technologies Office (EE-4S)
Country of Publication:
United States