Direct nanoscale mapping of open circuit voltages at local back surface fields for PERC solar cells

Longacre, Alexandra and Martin, Michael and Moran, Thomas and Kolosov, Oleg and Schneller, Eric and Curran, Alan J. and Wang, Menghong and Dai, Jianfang and Bruckman, Laura S. and Jaubert, Jean-Nicolas and Davis, Kristopher O. and Braid, Jennifer L. and French, Roger H. and Huey, Bryan (2020) Direct nanoscale mapping of open circuit voltages at local back surface fields for PERC solar cells. Journal of Materials Science, 55 (25). pp. 11501-11511. ISSN 0022-2461

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The open circuit voltage (VOC) is a critical and common indicator of solar cell performance as well as degradation, for panel down to lab-scale photovoltaics. Detecting VOC at the nanoscale is much more challenging, however, due to experimental limitations on spatial resolution, voltage resolution, and/or measurement times. Accordingly, an approach based on Conductive Atomic Force Microscopy is implemented to directly detect the local VOC, notably for monocrystalline Passivated Emitter Rear Contact (PERC) cells which are the most common industrial-scale solar panel technology in production worldwide. This is demonstrated with cross-sectioned monocrystalline PERC cells around the entire circumference of a poly-aluminum-silicide via through the rear emitter. The VOC maps reveal a local back surface field extending * 2 lm into the underlying p-type Si absorber due to Al in-diffusion as designed. Such high spatial resolution methods for photovoltaic performance mapping are especially promising for directly visualizing the effects of processing parameters, as well as identifying signatures of degradation for silicon and other solar cell technologies.

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Journal Article
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Journal of Materials Science
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01 Jun 2020 13:25
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2022 09:05