, Volume 22, Issue 9, pp 1248-1257
Date: 26 Jan 2011

Specific contact resistance measurements of the screen-printed Ag thick film contacts in the silicon solar cells by three-point probe methodology and TLM method

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Abstract

The specific contact resistance of the screen-printed Ag contacts in the silicon solar cells has been investigated by applying two independent test methodologies such as three-point probe (TPP) and well-known transfer length model (TLM) test structure respectively. This paper presents some comparative results obtained with these two measurement techniques for the screen-printed Ag contacts formed on the porous silicon antireflection coating (ARC) in the crystalline silicon solar cells. The contact structure consists of thick-film Ag metal contacts patterned on the top of the etched porous silicon surface. Five different contact formation temperatures ranging from 725 to 825 °C for few minutes in air ambient followed by a short time annealing step at about 450 °C in nitrogen ambient was applied to the test samples in order to study the specific contact resistance of the screen-printed Ag metal contact structure. The specific contact resistance of the Ag metal contacts extracted based on the TPP as well as TLM test methodologies has been compared and verified. It shows that the extraction procedure based on the TPP method results in specific contact resistance, ρ c  = 2.15 × 10−6 Ω-cm2 indicating that screen-printed Ag contacts has excellent ohmic properties whereas in the case of TLM method, the best value of the specific contact resistance was found to be about ρ c  = 8.34 × 10−5 Ω-cm2. These results indicate that the ρ c value extracted for the screen-printed Ag contacts by TPP method is one order of magnitude lower than that of the corresponding value of the ρ c extracted by TLM method. The advantages and limitations of each of these techniques for quantitatively evaluating the specific contact resistance of the screen-printed Ag contacts are also discussed.