Microscopic Measurements of Electrical Potential in Hydrogenated Nanocrystalline Silicon Solar Cells

C. S. Jiang, H. R. Moutinho, R. C. Reedy, M. M. Al-Jassim, B. Yan, G. Yue, L. Sivec, J. Yang, S. Guha, X. Tong

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

2 Scopus Citations


We report on a direct measurement of electrical potential and field profiles across the n-i-p junction of hydrogenated nanocrystalline silicon (nc-Si:H) solar cells, using the nanometer-resolution potential imaging technique of scanning Kelvin probe force microscopy (SKPFM). It was observed that the electric field is nonuniform across the i layer. It is much higher in the p/i region than in the middle and the n/i region, illustrating that the i layer is actually slightly n-type. A measurement on a nc-Si:H cell with a higher oxygen impurity concentration shows that the nonuniformity of the electric field is much more pronounced than in samples having a lower O impurity, indicating that O is an electron donor in nc-Si:H materials. This nonuniform distribution of electric field implies a mixture of diffusion and drift of carrier transport in the nc-Si:H solar cells. The composition and structure of these nc-Si:H cells were further investigated by using secondary-ion mass spectrometry and Raman spectroscopy, respectively. The effects of impurity and structural properties on the electrical potential distribution and solar cell performance are discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2012
Event2012 MRS Spring Meeting - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: 9 Apr 201213 Apr 2012


Conference2012 MRS Spring Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA

Bibliographical note

See CP-5200-54833 for preprint

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5200-57311


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