Lifetime Analysis of Silicon Solar Cells by Microwave Reflection

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13 Scopus Citations


Microwave photoconductive decay (μPCD) has become a standard technique for measuring the carrier lifetime of silicon used in solar cells. Here, we have used μPCD to examine the carrier lifetimes at common doping levels used in the base region of silicon photovoltaic devices. For the conductivity range used in the p-type base of n+-p structures, the microwave penetration depth is less than the wafer thickness. In this case, the reflectance-conductivity relationship is very nonlinear. We will show that quasi-steady-state photoconductivity (QSSPC) and resonance-coupled photoconductive decay (RCPCD) lifetime measurements track over a wide range of injection level, and generally agree at higher injection levels. Our μPCD data will be compared with the transient RCPCD data over the same range. The data from the latter agree at low-injection levels, but show serious disagreement at higher injection levels. The conclusion is that μPCD must be limited to low-injection levels in the doping range used for solar cells.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)830-835
Number of pages6
JournalSolar Energy Materials and Solar Cells
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2008

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-520-43491


  • Microwaves
  • Photoelectron lifetime
  • Recombination
  • Silicon


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