Metal-Complex Inks for Lower Cost and Improved Passivation for Silicon Photovoltaic Metallization

Research output: NRELPoster


This contribution introduces the silicon PV community to screen-printable metal-complex inks that potentially will reduce Ag usage in Si PV metallization to one-quarter and costs to one-third that of traditional particle-based pastes while also improving passivation. Metal-complex inks are formulated using a Tollen's reaction to produce inks with a high percentage of diamminesilver (I) cations (22 wt %) in a solution of acetate and formate anions. When printed and dried labile ammonia ligands evaporate, leaving behind silver cations which, when reduced by formate anions and acetic acid, plate out silver and silver acetate. When annealed to just 300 degrees C a dense metallic silver film forms with excellent conductivity, and adhesion to silicon. When compared to traditional particle-based screen-printing pastes, the metal-complex inks are much denser, have higher conductivity, use less Ag, and are a fraction of the cost. Importantly, the inks anneal from 90 - 450 degrees C allowing for better passivation schemes than fired SiNx. This contribution highlights first experiments on the improved passivation of metallized poly-Si/SiO2 passivated contacts using metal-complex, Ag inks compared with particle-based, fired pastes.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2023

Publication series

NamePresented at the SiliconPV 2023 Conference, 10-14 April 2023, Delft, The Netherlands

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PO-5900-85313


  • metal-complex ink
  • passivation
  • photovoltaic
  • poly-Si/SiO2
  • silicon PV


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