Project Name: Tunneling Back-Contacted Silicon Photovoltaics
Funding Opportunity: PVRD2
SETO Subprogram: Photovoltaics
Location: Berkeley, CA
SETO Award Amount: $117,291
Awardee Cost Share: $13,140
Principal Investigator: Nicholas Strandwitz

This project is investigating the introduction of atomic layer deposited (ALD) interlayers combined with metal oxide thin films that simultaneously allow selective carrier collection and passivate the silicon surface for silicon-based solar cells. This work employs ALD for the fabrication of these thin film layers, which is a potentially scalable technique capable of sub-nanometer control of film thickness, even on non-planar substrates. This work quantifies the electronic behavior of the contacts.


The research team is working to form and characterize a new configuration of passivated selective electrical contacts to silicon, as it is expected that increases in contact passivation can be realized without significantly hindering the collection of the selected carrier. The team will work to determine the performance relationships of variations of multilayer thin film stacks and gain a broader understanding of their electronic properties.


This project aims to develop the most efficient electrical contacts to silicon to date. If successful, these contacts could be applicable to industrial PV manufacturing, decreasing manufacturing costs and increasing efficiency, leading to a lower levelized cost of electricity.