Electrical Analysis of Pulsed Laser Annealed Poly-Si:Ga/SiOx Passivating Contacts

Kejun Chen, Sumit Agarwal, Chun-Sheng Jiang, San Theingi, William Nemeth, Matthew Page, Paul Stradins, David Young, Matteo De Tullio, Francesco Sgarbossa, Enrico Napolitani

Research output: NRELPresentation


High-efficiency single crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cells require precise control of dopant diffusion profiles and highly active doping concentrations through thermal annealing. Conventional furnace annealing has been successfully employed for dopant diffusion in aluminum back-surface field (Al-BSF), passivated emitter and rear contact (PERC), and Topcon cells. However, furnace annealing limits some next-generation polycrystalline silicon (poly-Si) on SiOx passivating contacts. This limitation largely affects p-type passivating contacts by not being able to: 1) control the dopant diffusion accurately to prevent B segregation at the SiOx and c-Si interface; and 2) provide highly activated doping concentrations for low contact resistivity. In this contribution, we use a nanosecond excimer laser to examine the passivation quality and electrical performance of both B- and Ga-doped poly-Si/SiOx passivating contacts. The core of this method is to take advantage of the nonequilibrium nature of the anneal through rapid melting and recrystallizing the poly-Si in a short timescale and to achieve doping concentrations above the solid solubility limit. Simulations were performed on polished surfaces to visualize the doping diffusion profiles under different laser conditions, and secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) was used to verify the experimental diffusion profiles post pulsed laser melting (PLM). The results show the dopant diffusion profiles can be tuned precisely through PLM. The electrical analysis using VdP-Hall measurements reveals that the active doping concentration reached 10^21 cm-3 for B and ~2 x 10^21 cm-3 for Ga in poly-Si, far exceeding their solid solubility limit in Si, with a nearly 100% dopant activation achieved for B, and 20% for Ga. This highly activated dopant profile results in a low contact resistivity of <15 mO cm^2 for B-doped contacts and <40 mO cm^2 for Ga-doped contacts. We demonstrate that the passivation quality of the laser annealed contacts shows a linear dependency with the laser energy density and the number of pulses. PLM was also performed on random pyramid textured samples, and we found that preferential melting exists for the tips of pyramids, which can be pursued further for selective pinhole opening. Additionally, we perform thermal stability tests of these hyperdoped passivating contacts and show that under certain laser conditions, the B-doped samples exhibit good thermal stability with near full activation for temperatures up to 800 degrees C. Lastly, we transfer this technique to a larger area by overlapping laser spots and show uniform passivation quality and electrical performance. We are currently implementing this PLM annealed p-type passivating contacts into double-side back-junction poly-Si/SiOx passivating contact devices. Our results show that PLM can not only enable the next generation of high-efficiency c-Si photovoltaics technology but can also benefit the c-Si integrated circuit industry through hyperdoping other semiconductors with atoms that may otherwise have a low solubility.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages16
StatePublished - 2022

Publication series

NamePresented at the 12th SiliconPV Conference, 28 March - April 1 2022, Konstanz, Germany

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-5900-82474


  • doping diffusion profile
  • nanosecond excimer laser
  • passivating contact
  • photovoltaic
  • PLM
  • poly Si/SiOx
  • poly-Si
  • pulsed laser melting
  • PV


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