Project Name: Impact of Undoped Substrates on High-Performance Silicon Solar Cells
Funding Opportunity: Solar Energy Technologies Office Fiscal Year 2018 Funding Program (SETO FY2018)
SETO Research Area: Photovoltaics
Location: Tempe, AZ
SETO Award Amount: $200,000
Awardee Cost Share: $50,000
Principal Investigator: Andre Augusto

-- Award and cost share amounts are subject to change pending negotiations --

This project will determine whether silicon that has not been doped (had elements added to it to change its electrical properties) can lead to higher efficiency and longer lifetimes in silicon heterojunction (SHJ) solar cells. SHJ cells, which consist of layers of silicon with different doping levels, are highly efficient, can be manufactured at relatively low temperatures. Variations in dopant concentrations in silicon wafers, which occur when a silicon crystal grows, affect the electrical resistance, lifetime, and efficiency of the cell. Even small increases in efficiency and lifetime would help lower solar electricity costs.


The team will manufacture SHJ solar cells containing different amounts of dopants and determine the benefits of using undoped silicon wafers with high electrical resistance. The researchers will study the cells’ behavior under different light and temperature conditions and model these behaviors with numerical simulations of the underlying physics, producing data that will be useful for various applications. Then they will characterize the undoped silicon solar cells.


Lower doping leads to higher electrical resistance but has been shown to yield similar or higher efficiencies than standard SHJ cells. The project team will study whether silicon that is undoped or has lower doping levels can increase the efficiency and lifetimes of SHJ cells and ultimately help lower costs for solar cell technology.