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Impact of bulk impurity contamination on the performance of high‐efficiency n‐type silicon solar cells

: Richter, A.; Benick, J.; Fell, A.; Hermle, M.; Glunz, S.W.


Progress in Photovoltaics 26 (2018), No.5, pp.342-350
ISSN: 1062-7995
ISSN: 1099-159X
Journal Article
Fraunhofer ISE ()

The experimental variation of wafer thickness and resistivity at device level combined with a comprehensive device simulation study allows the identification of dominating recombination‐induced power loss mechanisms in high‐efficiency n‐type silicon solar cells (A. Richter et al, Sol. Energy Mater. Sol. Cells 173, p. 96, 2017). Under the assumption of specific Shockley‐Read‐Hall (SRH) recombination parameters, impurity recombination within the silicon bulk was identified as one main source for efficiency losses particularly for solar cells made of high‐resistivity silicon. In this work, we extend that analysis approach focusing on the SRH recombination parameters in order to investigate whether certain properties of these recombination‐active impurities can be identified using this kind of simulation‐based analysis. Reported SRH recombination parameters of various common impurities (eg, Fe, Cr, or Ni) were considered. It was found that a dominating role of certain impurities as Cu, Au, Co, or Zn can be excluded. A general simulation study as a function of the fundamental SRH recombination parameters allowed us to reduce the possible SRH parameters significantly in particular of the capture cross‐section ratio of electrons and holes. These results demonstrate that our analysis approach, which combines an experimental variation of wafer thickness and resistivity with a comprehensive device simulation, can provide deep insights into the solar cells loss mechanisms. In particular, the conclusions regarding SRH recombination are of importance for solar cells made of n‐type silicon as there are no meta‐stable impurity states formed that would allow a direct identification of impurity recombination–related power loss as reported for p‐type Si.