IMEC touts 18.4% c-Si with Cu plated contacts

At this week’s European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference, IMEC researchers are touting a new crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cell (125cm<sup>2</sup>) with shallow emitter and copper-plated (Cu) contacts achieving 18.4% conversion efficiency, improving on the group’s standard i-PERC cell process.


September 22, 2009 – At this week’s European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference, IMEC researchers are touting a new crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cell (125cm2) with shallow emitter and copper-plated (Cu) contacts achieving 18.4% conversion efficiency, improving on the group’s standard i-PERC cell process.

The shallow emitter results in “enhanced blue response” and thus improves conversion efficiency vs. a standard emitter, IMEC notes. The new metallization stack is applied to local openings in the antireflective coating. Replacing screen-printed silver contacts with copper (another process learned in separate efforts in copper-plating silicon) improves the cell’s sustainability, and also offers lower-cost potential, notes team manager Joachim John. He added that the results were particularly encouraging given that the first result was required no “dedicated fine-tuning.”

The goal of this work, noted Poortmans, is to create “cost-effective, efficient crystalline-Si solar cells” only 40μm thick, and with >30% efficiencies.

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IMEC’s i-PERC cell with shallow emitter and Cu metallization

 

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