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Long-term stability of aluminum oxide based surface passivation schemes under illumination at elevated temperatures

: Niewelt, T.; Kwapil, W.M.; Selinger, M.; Richter, A.; Schubert, M.C.


IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics 7 (2017), Nr.5, S.1197-1202
ISSN: 2156-3381
ISSN: 2156-3403
Fraunhofer ISE ()
Solarzellen - Entwicklung und Charakterisierung; Photovoltaik; Silicium-Photovoltaik; Charakterisierung von Prozess- und Silicium-Materialien; stability; oxide passivation; silicon; soaking

The stability of passivation layers under the conditions of field application of solar modules is a crucial parameter. We have performed an experiment to test the stability of aluminum oxide based passivation schemes under halogen lamp illumination of 1 sun equivalent intensity at 75 °C. We compare aluminum oxide layers with atomic layer deposition and plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition with and without an amorphous silicon nitride capping layer. Different thermal treatments are performed to activate the passivation or simulate solar cell contact firing. All passivation schemes are tested on full four inch 1 Ω·cm p- and n-type float-zone silicon wafers. The quality and stability of the surface passivation are tested by means of repeated charge carrier lifetime measurements. No significant surface passivation degradation due to light-soaking is evident on capped samples for several hundred hours. N-type samples are demonstrated to maintain excellent passivation quality for at least 3700 h and only slight degradation of p-type samples is found.