Investigation of Charge Trapping at Grain Boundaries in Polycrystalline and Multicrystalline Silicon Solar Cells

Jennifer T. Heath, Chun Sheng Jiang, Helio R. Moutinho, Mowafak M. Al-Jassim

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

1 Scopus Citations


Scanning capacitance microscopy (SCM) often shows a change in contrast at grain boundaries [1-3]. The origins of this contrast and the efficacy of SCM as a tool to identify band bending at grain boundaries in pc-Si and mc-Si are discussed. Contrast at these grain boundaries could be influenced by different oxide growth rates or by defect states at the oxide interface. In order to determine the influence of such mechanisms on the SCM signal, such effects must be modeled; we show that a simple one-dimensional model agrees well with more detailed models of SCM signal strength and indicates, for example, that very small changes in oxide thickness measurably affect the SCM signal. In our experimental data, the uniformity and quality of the oxide layer are confirmed, and increased contrast consistent with depletion regions is still observed at higher order grain boundaries as identified by electron backscattering diffraction, including ∑9 and ∑27a. Scans of the SCM signal as a function of dc probe voltage allow such regions to be more quantitatively investigated.

Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2010
EventMaterials Research Society Symposium - San Francisco, California
Duration: 5 Apr 20109 Apr 2010


ConferenceMaterials Research Society Symposium
CitySan Francisco, California

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-520-47978

Other Report Number

  • Paper No. 1268-EE07-10


  • cell efficiency
  • device performance
  • solar cells


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