Solar cell industrial manufacturing, based largely on proven semiconductor processing technologies supported by significant advancements in automation, has reached a plateau in terms of cost and efficiency. However, solar cell manufacturing cost (dollar/watt) is still substantially higher than fossil fuels. The route to lowering cost may not lie with continuing automation and economies of scale. Alternate fabrication processes with lower cost and environmental-sustainability coupled with self-reliance, simplicity, and affordability may lead to price compatibility with carbon-based fuels. In this paper, a custom-designed formulation of phosphoric acid has been investigated, for n-type doping in p-type substrates, as a function of concentration and drive-in temperature. For post-diffusion surface passivation and anti-reflection, thermally-grown oxide films in 50–150-nm thickness were grown. These fabrication methods facilitate process simplicity, reduced costs, and environmental sustainability by elimination of poisonous chemicals and toxic gases (POCl3, SiH4, NH3). Simultaneous fire-through contact formation process based on screen-printed front surface Ag and back surface through thermally grown oxide films was optimized as a function of the peak temperature in conveyor belt furnace. Highest efficiency solar cells fabricated exhibited efficiency of ∼13%. Analysis of results based on internal quantum efficiency and minority carried measurements reveals three contributing factors: high front surface recombination, low minority carrier lifetime, and higher reflection. Solar cell simulations based on PC1D showed that, with improved passivation, lower reflection, and high lifetimes, efficiency can be enhanced to match with commercially-produced PECVD SiN-coated solar cells.
Ahmad, S. M., Cheow, S. L., Ludin, N. A., Sopian, K., & Zaidi, S. H. (2017). In-depth investigation of spin-on doped solar cells with thermally grown oxide passivation. Results in Physics, 7, 2183–2193. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rinp.2017.06.044