The boron-tailing myth in hydrogenated amorphous silicon solar cells

The boron-tailing effect in hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) solar cells describes the reduced charge collection specifically in the blue part of the spectrum for absorber layers deposited above a critical temperature. This effect limits the device performance of state-of-the art solar cells: For enhanced current density (reduced bandgap), the deposition temperature should be as high as possible, but boron tailing gets detrimental above 200°C. To investigate this limitation and to show potential paths to overcome it, we deposited high-efficiency a-Si:H solar cells, varying the deposition temperatures of the p-type and the intrinsic absorber (i) layers between 150 and 250°C. Using secondary ion mass spectroscopy, we study dedicated stacks of i-p-i layers deposited at different temperatures. This allows us to track boron diffusion at the p-i and i-p interfaces as they occur in the p-i-n and n-i-p configurations of a-Si:H solar cells for different deposition conditions. Finally, we prove step-by-step that the common explanation for boron tailing—boron diffusion from the p layer into the i layer leading to enhanced recombination—is not generally true and propose an alter-native explanation for the experimentally observed drop in the external quantum efficiency at short wavelengths.

Published in:
Applied Physics Letters, 107, 20, 201112
Melville, American Institute of Physics
IMT-Number : 811

Note: The status of this file is: EPFL only

 Record created 2015-11-23, last modified 2018-03-17

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