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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Polymeric Electron-Selective Contact for Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells with an Efficiency Exceeding 19%

  • Author(s): Ji, W
  • Allen, T
  • Yang, X
  • Zeng, G
  • De Wolf, S
  • Javey, A
  • et al.

Carrier-selective contacts have become a prominent path forward toward efficient crystalline silicon (c-Si) photovoltaics. Among the proposed contacting materials, organic materials may offer simplified and low-cost processing compared with typical vacuum deposition techniques. Here, branched polyethylenimine (b-PEI) is presented as an electron-transport layer (ETL) for c-Si solar cells. The incorporation of a b-PEI interlayer between c-Si(n) and Al leads to a low contact resistivity of 24 mω cm2. A silicon heterojunction solar cell integrated with b-PEI is demonstrated achieving a power conversion efficiency of 19.4%, which improves the benchmark efficiency of a c-Si solar cell with an organic ETL. This electron selectivity of b-PEI is attributed to its Lewis basicity, i.e., electron-donating ability, promoting favorable band bending at the c-Si surface for electron transport. Moreover, several other Lewis base polymers perform as efficient ETLs in organic/c-Si hybrid devices, indicating Lewis basicity could be a guideline for future organic ETL design.

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