A novel device concept utilizing the approach of selectively extracting carriers at the respective contacts is outlined in the work. The dominant silicon solar cell technology is based on a diffused, top-contacted p-n junction on a relatively thick silicon wafer for both commercial and laboratory solar cells. The VOC and hence the efficiency of a diffused p-n junction solar cell is limited by the emitter recombination current and a value of 720 mV is considered to be the upper limit. The value is more than 100 mV smaller than the thermodynamic limit of VOC as applicable for silicon based solar cells. Also, in diffused junction the use of thin wafers (< 50 um) are problematic because of the requirement of high temperature processing steps. But a number of roadmaps have identified solar cells manufactured on thinner silicon wafers to achieve lower cost and higher efficiency. The carrier selective contact device provides a novel alternative to diffused p-n junction solar cells by eliminating the need for complementary doping to form the emitter and hence it allows the solar cells to achieve a VOC of greater than 720 mV. Also, the complete device structure can be fabricated with low temperature thin film deposition or organic coating on silicon substrates and thus epitaxially grown silicon or kerfless silicon, in addition to standard silicon wafers can be utilized.
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Stuart Bowden ; Kunal Ghosh and Christiana Honsberg
Non PN junction solar cells using carrier selective contacts
", Proc. SPIE 8620, Physics, Simulation, and Photonic Engineering of Photovoltaic Devices II, 86200T (March 25, 2013); doi:10.1117/12.2004259; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.2004259