Distribution of the Electrical Potential in Hydrogenated Amorphous Silicon Solar Cells

C. S. Jiang, H. R. Moutinho, M. J. Romero, M. M. Al-Jassim, Y. Q. Xu, Q. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus Citations


We report on a direct measurement of the spatial distribution of electrical potential on cross sections of hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) n-i-p solar cells using scanning Kelvin probe microscopy. We found that most voltage has dropped near the p/i interface up to ∼500 mm into the i-layer, but that the voltage flattens out near the n/i region for a device with i-layer thickness of ∼800 nm. However, the potential distributes approximate-linearly on the entire i-layer for a device with i-layer of ∼250 nm. The potential measurements suggest that the i-layer is slightly n-type (6-13 × 10 15/cm3), and the depletion width is ∼350-500 nm at the i/p interface. This depletion width provides a direct experimental evidence for the device design criteria that a-Si:H solar cells should be thinner than ∼500 nm, in the point view of electrical potential.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)203-207
Number of pages5
JournalThin Solid Films
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2005

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-520-34406


  • Electrical properties and measurements
  • Silicon
  • Solar cells


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