Lithium Fluoride Based Electron Contacts for High Efficiency n-Type Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells
Low-resistance contact to lightly doped n-type crystalline silicon (c-Si) has long been recognized as technologically challenging due to the pervasive Fermi-level pinning effect. This has hindered the development of certain devices such as n-type c-Si solar cells made with partial rear contacts (PRC) directly to the lowly doped c-Si wafer. Here, a simple and robust process is demonstrated for achieving m Omega cm(2) scale contact resistivities on lightly doped n-type c-Si via a lithium fluoride/aluminum contact. The realization of this low-resistance contact enables the fabrication of a first-of-its-kind high-efficiency n-type PRC solar cell. The electron contact of this cell is made to less than 1% of the rear surface area, reducing the impact of contact recombination and optical losses, permitting a power conversion efficiency of greater than 20% in the initial proof-of-concept stage. The implementation of the LiFx/Al contact mitigates the need for the costly high-temperature phosphorus diffusion, typically implemented in such a cell design to nullify the issue of Fermi level pinning at the electron contact. The timing of this demonstration is significant, given the ongoing transition from p-type to n-type c-Si solar cell architectures, together with the increased adoption of advanced PRC device structures within the c-Si photovoltaic industry.