Assessing the Device-performance Impacts of Structural Defects with TCAD Modeling

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Advanced solar cell architectures like passivated emitter and rear (PERC) and heterojunction with intrinsic thin layer (HIT) are increasingly sensitive to bulk recombination. Present device models consider homogeneous bulk lifetime, which does not accurately reflect the effects of heterogeneously distributed defects. To determine the efficiency potential of multicrystalline silicon (mc-Si) in next-generation architectures, we present a higher-dimensional numerical simulation study of the impacts of structural defects on solar cell performance. We simulate these defects as an interfacial density of traps with a single mid-gap energy level using Shockley-Read-Hall (SRH) statistics. To account for enhanced recombination at the structural defects, we apply a linear scaling to the majority-carrier capture cross-section and scale the minority-carrier capture cross-section with the inverse of the line density of traps. At 300 K, our simulations of carrier occupation and recombination rate match literature electron-beam-induced current (EBIC) data and first-principles calculations of carrier capture, emission, and recombination for all the energy levels associated with dislocations decorated with metal impurities. We implement our model in Sentaurus Device, determining the losses across different device architectures for varying impurity decoration of grain boundaries.




Needleman, D. B., Wagner, H., Altermatt, P. P., & Buonassisi, T. (2015). Assessing the Device-performance Impacts of Structural Defects with TCAD Modeling. In Energy Procedia (Vol. 77, pp. 8–14). Elsevier Ltd.

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