This article reports on a newly developed method for electrochemical deposition of buried Cu contacts in Si-based photovoltaic ~PV! cells. Contact grooves, 20 mm wide by 40 mm deep, were laser-cut into Si PV cells, hereafter applied with a thin electroless NiP base and subsequently filled with Cu by electrochemical deposition at a rate of up to 10 mm per min. With the newly developed process, void-free, superconformal Cu-filling of the laser-cut grooves was observed by scanning electron microscopy and focused ion beam techniques. The Cu microstructure in grooves showed both bottom and sidewall texture, with a grain-size decreasing from the center to the edges of the buried Cu contacts and a pronounced lateral growth outside the laser-cut grooves. The measured specific contact resistances of the buried contacts was better than the production standard. Overall performance of the new PV cells was equal to the production standard with measured efficiencies up to 16.9%.
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- Materials technology
- Micro Technology
- Processing technology