Lifetime Enhancement and Low-Cost Technology Development for High-Efficiency Manufacturable Silicon Solar Cells
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A low-cost, manufacturable defect gettering and passivation treatment, involving simultaneous anneal of a PECVD SiN(x) film and a screen-printed Al layer, is found to improve the lifetime in Si ribbon materials from 1-10 µs to over 20 µs. Our results indicate that the optimum anneal temperature for SiN(x)-induced hydrogenation is 700°C for EFG and increases to 825°C when Al is present on the back of the sample. This not only improves the degree of hydrogenation, but also forms an effective back surface field. Controlled rapid cooling was implemented after the hydrogenation anneal and contact firing to improve the retention of hydrogen at defect sites using RTP. RTP contact firing improved the performance of ribbon solar cells by 1.3-1.5% absolute when compared to slow, belt furnace contact firing. Enhanced hydrogenation and rapid heating and cooling resulted in screen-printed Si ribbon cell efficiencies approaching 15%. A combination of screen-printed Al and a two minute RTP anneal in an oxygen ambient produced simultaneously a high quality rapid thermal oxide (RTO) and an aluminum back surface field (Al-BSF) with a back surface recombination (BSRV) of 200 cm/s 2-3 Ohm-cm single and multicrystalline silicon solar cells. In addition, RTO/SiN(x) stack passivation was found to be superior to SiN(x) surface passivation. RTO/SiN(x) passivation reduces the BSRV to ~10 cm/s on 1-2 Ohm-cm p-type single crystal Si and also lowers the Joe of 40 and 90 Ohm/sq emitters by a factor of three and ten, respectively. Integration of RTP emitters, screen-printed RTP Al-BSF and RTO produced 19% and 17% efficient monocrystalline cells with photolithography and screen-printed contacts, respectively.