Nanopinhole Passivating Contact Si Solar Cells Fabricated with Metal-Assisted Chemical Etching

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Monocrystalline Si (c-Si) solar cells with passivating contacts based on doped polycrystalline Si (poly-Si) on ≈2.0 nm silicon oxide (SiOx) require >1000 °C thermal processing to create conducting pinholes in the SiOx layer. However, this high thermal budget can induce bulk defects in the Czochralski c-Si wafers used as the cell absorber layer. In this work, it is demonstrated that pinholes can instead be created using metal-assisted chemical etching on planar or textured morphologies, at room temperature. This wet process creates up to 200 nm wide conducting pinholes that are directly observed with transmission electron and atomic force microscopies. High-performance hole-selective poly-Si/SiNy/SiOx and electron-selective poly-Si/SiOx passivating contacts are fabricated and implemented in laboratory-scale solar cells. This process development significantly broadens the range of passivation layer materials, their thicknesses, and surface morphologies, which enables the design of poly-Si contacts with superior passivating quality.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number2203579
Number of pages9
JournalAdvanced Energy Materials
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Wiley-VCH GmbH.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-85150


  • Ag nanoparticles
  • metal-assisted chemical etching
  • pinholes
  • poly-Si contacts
  • Si solar cells


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