Photovoltaic Device Applications of Porous Silicon


We report on the results of our investigation of using porous Si to enhance the performance of crystalline silicon photovoltaic solar cells. Possible approaches include using the porous Si for (1) surface texturing to enhance light trapping, (2) front or back surface fields because of its wider bandgap, and (3) photon color conversion of blue light to longer wavelengths that have higher quantum efficiency in a Si solar cell. In our surface texturing study, a porous-Si-covered single-crystal Si wafer showed an integrated reflectance of only 1.4% at 500-nm wavelength compared to about 40% for a polished Si surface. For our solar cell study, we used a point-contact cell structure with diffused p+ and n+ point contacts on the back of the cell. This cell structure allows us to form the porous Si on the front surface after both the junction formation and the evaporation and alloying of metal contacts.

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We thank Ted Ciszek and Tim Coutts for helpful discussions and John McCullough for obtaining the transmission curve of porous Si. This work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy under contract No. DE-AC02-83CH10093.

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Tsuo, Y.S., Heben, M.J., Wu, X. et al. Photovoltaic Device Applications of Porous Silicon. MRS Online Proceedings Library 283, 405–410 (1992).

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