Lithium Fluoride Based Electron Contacts for High Efficiency n-Type Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells

James Bullock, Peiting Zheng, Quentin Jeangros, Mahmut Tosun, Mark Hettick, Carolin M. Sutter-Fella, Yimao Wan, Thomas Allen, Di Yan, Daniel Macdonald, Stefaan De Wolf, Aïcha Hessler-Wyser, Andres Cuevas*, Ali Javey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

137 Scopus citations


Low-resistance contact to lightly doped n-type crystalline silicon (c-Si) has long been recognized as technologically challenging due to the pervasive Fermi-level pinning effect. This has hindered the development of certain devices such as n-type c-Si solar cells made with partial rear contacts (PRC) directly to the lowly doped c-Si wafer. Here, a simple and robust process is demonstrated for achieving mΩ cm2 scale contact resistivities on lightly doped n-type c-Si via a lithium fluoride/aluminum contact. The realization of this low-resistance contact enables the fabrication of a first-of-its-kind high-efficiency n-type PRC solar cell. The electron contact of this cell is made to less than 1% of the rear surface area, reducing the impact of contact recombination and optical losses, permitting a power conversion efficiency of greater than 20% in the initial proof-of-concept stage. The implementation of the LiFx/Al contact mitigates the need for the costly high-temperature phosphorus diffusion, typically implemented in such a cell design to nullify the issue of Fermi level pinning at the electron contact. The timing of this demonstration is significant, given the ongoing transition from p-type to n-type c-Si solar cell architectures, together with the increased adoption of advanced PRC device structures within the c-Si photovoltaic industry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1600241
JournalAdvanced Energy Materials
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 20 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • contacts
  • fermi levels
  • lithium fluoride
  • photovoltaics
  • silicon solar cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Materials Science


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