Hole-Collection Mechanism in Passivating Metal-Oxide Contacts on Si Solar Cells: Insights From Numerical Simulations

Ramachandran Ammapet Vijayan, Stephanie Essig, Stefaan De Wolf, Bairava Ganesh Ramanathan, Philipp Loper, Christophe Ballif, Muthubalan Varadharajaperumal

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61 Scopus citations


Silicon heterojunction solar cells enable high conversion efficiencies, thanks to their passivating contacts which consist of layered stacks of intrinsic and doped amorphous silicon. However, such contacts may reduce the photo current, when present on the illuminated side of the cell. This motivates the search for wider bandgap contacting materials, such as metal oxides. In this paper, we elucidate the precise impact of the material parameters of MoO $_{x}$ on device characteristics, based on numerical simulations. The simulation results allow us to propose design principles for hole-collecting induced junctions. We find that if MoO $_{x}$ has a sufficiently high electron affinity ( $\ge\! \text{{5.7 eV}}$ ), direct band-to-band tunneling is the dominant transport mechanism; whereas if it has a lower electron affinity ( $ <\! \text{{5.7 eV}}$ ), trap-assisted tunneling dominates, which might introduce additional series resistance. At even lower electron affinity, S-shaped J V curves may appear for these solar cells, which are found to be due to an insufficient trap state density in the MoO $_{x}$ film in contrast to the expectation of better performance at low trap density. These traps may assist carrier transport when present near the conduction band edge of the MoO $_{x}$ film. Our simulations predict that performance optimization for the MoO $_{x}$ film has to target either 1) a high electron affinity and a moderate doping density film or, 2) if the electron affinity is lower than the optimum value, a high defect density not exceeding the doping density inside the film.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)473-482
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Journal of Photovoltaics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 14 2018

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: This work was supported in part by the Department of Science and Technologyzz, India, under Grant DST/INT/SWISS/SNSF/P-46/2015, in part by the Swiss National Science Foundation under Grant IZLIZ2_156641, in part by the EU H2020 under Grant 727529 (DISC), and in part by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. The work of R. A. Vijayan and M. Varadharajaperumal was supported by the Department of Science and Technology, India, through the Fund for Improvement of S&T Infrastructure (FIST) programme under Grant SR/FST/ETI-338/2013 and SR/FST/ETI-349/2013. The work of S. Essig was supported by a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant 706744 (action acronym: COLIBRI).


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