Large-Area Material and Junction Damage in c-Si Solar Cells by Potential-Induced Degradation

Chuanxiao Xiao, Chun Sheng Jiang, Steven Harvey, Dana Kern, Xihan Chen, Helio Moutinho, Andrew Norman, Peter Hacke, Steven Johnston, Mowafak Al-Jassim, Jun Liu, Jie Pan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus Citations


This paper reports a new potential-induced degradation (PID) mechanism for crystalline silicon (c–Si), where Na diffuses everywhere and causes large-area material and junction degradation with point defects. Multiple characterization techniques are combined—Kelvin probe force microscopy, electron-beam induced current, dark lock-in thermography, transmission electron microscopy, time-of-flight secondary-ion mass spectrometry, and microwave photoconductance decay—as well as density functional theory (DFT) calculations. These characterization techniques and theoretical calculations are complementary in various aspects of a material's chemical, structural, electrical, and optoelectrical nature, as well as in atomic, nanometer, micrometer, millimeter, and cell and module scales. All results point consistently to a new discovery: substantial large-area deterioration of materials and junctions play a major role in c–Si PID (in addition to the previously reported local shunting defect caused by Na diffusion to planar defects). This new finding reveals a key PID component and leads to a new strategy for tailoring c–Si photovoltaics to ultimately resolve the PID issue.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number1800303
Number of pages9
JournalSolar RRL
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-72059


  • fundamental mechanisms
  • large-area damage
  • multiple characterization
  • potential-induced degradation
  • Si solar cells


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