Charge fluctuations at the Si–SiO2 interface and its effect on surface recombination in solar cells
Bonilla, RS, Al-Dhahir, I, Yu, M, Hamer, P, Altermatt, PP
Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells
© 2020 Elsevier B.V. The Si–SiO2 interface has and will continue to play a major role in the development of silicon photovoltaic devices. This work presents a detailed examination of how charge at or near this interface influences device performance. New understanding is identified on the effect of charge-induced potential fluctuations at the silicon surface. Such fluctuations have been considered in Si–SiO2 recombination models previously, where a universal value of electrical potential deviation was used to represent the effect. However, the approach disregards that the variation occurs in the charge concentration rather than the potential. We modify the models to accurately reflect fluctuations in external charge, allowing a precise representation of surface recombination velocity, with self-consistent Dit, σp, and σn parameters. Correctly accounting for these parameters can provide insights into the passivation mechanisms which can aid the development of future devices. Using the corrected model, we find that the effect of charge fluctuation at the Si–SiO2 interface is significant for the depletion regime to the weak inversion regime. This indicates that surface passivation dielectrics must operate with charge concentrations in excess of 2x1012 q/cm2 to avoid these effects. TCAD device simulations show that the efficiency of future PERC cells can improve up to 1% absolute when optimally charged dielectric coatings are applied both at the front and rear surfaces.