Assessing the Potential of Inversion Layer Solar Cells Based on Highly Charged Dielectric Nanolayers

Mingzhe Yu, Yifu Shi, Joshua Deru, Isabel Al-Dhahir, Shona McNab, Daniel Chen, Martin Voss, En Te Hwu, Alison Ciesla, Brett Hallam, Phillip Hamer, Pietro P. Altermatt, Peter Wilshaw, Ruy S. Bonilla*

*Corresponding author for this work

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The production and performance of p-type inversion layer (IL) Si solar cells, manufactured with an ion-injection technique that produces a highly charged dielectric nanolayer, are investigated. It is demonstrated that the field-induced electron layer underneath the dielectric can reach a dark sheet resistance of 0.95 kΩ sq−1 on a 1 Ω cm n-type substrate, lower than any previously reported. In addition, it is shown that the implied open-circuit voltage of a p-type IL cell precursor with a highly charged dielectric is equivalent to that of a cell with a phosphorous emitter. In the cell precursor, light-beam-induced current measurements are performed, and the uniformity and performance of the IL is demonstrated. Finally, simulations are used to explain the physical characteristics of the interface leading to extremely low sheet resistances, and to assess the efficiency potential of IL cells. IL cells are predicted to reach an efficiency of 24.5%, and 24.8% on 5/10 Ω cm substrates, by replacing the phosphorous emitter with a simpler manufacturing process. This requires a charge density of beyond 2 × 1013 cm−2, as is demonstrated here. Moreover, IL cells perform even better at higher charge densities and when negative charge is optimized at the rear dielectric.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2100129
JournalPhysica Status Solidi - Rapid Research Letters
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
All the authors are thankful to Radka Chakalova for assistance in cleanroom processing. M.Y. would like to thank the China Scholarship Council for funding her doctoral studies. P.H. acknowledges funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency as an ACAP fellow. P.R W. and P.P.A. acknowledge support from Black Silicon Photovoltaics grant EP/R005303/1. R.S.B was supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering under the Research Fellowship scheme, and acknowledges the support from ESPRC Postdoctoral Fellowship EP/M022196/1.


  • Field-assisted ion migration
  • Inversion layer cells
  • Silicon solar cells


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