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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Temperature and Humidity Stable Alkali/Alkaline-Earth Metal Carbonates as Electron Heterocontacts for Silicon Photovoltaics


Nanometer scale interfacial layers between the metal cathode and the n-type semiconductor play a critical role in enhancing the transport of charge carriers in and out of optoelectronic devices. Here, a range of nanoscale alkali and alkaline earth metal carbonates (i.e., potassium, rubidium, caesium, calcium, strontium, and barium) are shown to function effectively as electron heterocontacts to lightly doped n-type crystalline silicon (c-Si), which is particularly challenging to contact with common metals. These carbonate interlayers are shown to enhance the performance of n-type c-Si proof-of-concept solar cells up to a power conversion efficiency of ≈19%. Furthermore, these devices are thermally stable up to 350 °C and both the caesium and barium carbonates pass a standard 1000 h damp heat test, with >95% of their initial performance maintained. The temperature and humidity stable electron heterocontacts based on alkali and alkaline earth metal carbonates show a high potential for industrial feasibility and longevity for deployment in the field.

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