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Title: Towards high efficiency thin-film crystalline silicon solar cells: The roles of light trapping and non-radiative recombinations

Thin-film solar cells based on silicon have emerged as an alternative to standard thick wafers technology, but they are less efficient, because of incomplete absorption of sunlight, and non-radiative recombinations. In this paper, we focus on the case of crystalline silicon (c-Si) devices, and we present a full analytic electro-optical model for p-n junction solar cells with Lambertian light trapping. This model is validated against numerical solutions of the drift-diffusion equations. We use this model to investigate the interplay between light trapping, and bulk and surface recombination. Special attention is paid to surface recombination processes, which become more important in thinner devices. These effects are further amplified due to the textures required for light trapping, which lead to increased surface area. We show that c-Si solar cells with thickness of a few microns can overcome 20% efficiency and outperform bulk ones when light trapping is implemented. The optimal device thickness in presence of light trapping, bulk and surface recombination, is quantified to be in the range of 10–80 μm, depending on the bulk quality. These results hold, provided the effective surface recombination is kept below a critical level of the order of 100 cm/s. We discuss the possibility of meeting this requirement,more » in the context of state-of-the-art techniques for light trapping and surface passivation. We show that our predictions are within the capability of present day silicon technologies.« less
Authors:
; ;  [1]
  1. Physics Department, University of Pavia and CNISM, via Bassi 6, I-27100 Pavia (Italy)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22277959
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Applied Physics; Journal Volume: 115; Journal Issue: 9; Other Information: (c) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
75 CONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS, SUPERCONDUCTIVITY AND SUPERFLUIDITY; DIFFUSION EQUATIONS; ENERGY EFFICIENCY; P-N JUNCTIONS; RECOMBINATION; SILICON; SILICON SOLAR CELLS; SURFACE AREA; SURFACES; TEXTURE; THICKNESS; THIN FILMS; TRAPPING; VISIBLE RADIATION