In this study, NiSi has been formed as the contact for copper front metallization on laboratory silicon solar cells. Transfer length method (TLM) measurements were used to examine the resistive nature of the contact. The scalability of the measurement itself was also examined. Characterization of the NiSi films for thickness, resistivity and composition were performed. Single crystal silicon solar cells were fabricated and used in temperature stress tests of the degradation of the pseudo-fill factor (pFF) and quantum efficiency (QE) to assess the capabilities of the NiSi diffusion barrier. Best contact resistivities of 7.3e-6 Ohm-cm2 with NiSi only and 4.0e-5 Ohm-cm2 with NiSi/Cu/TiN were measured. Even following a week of temperature stress, NiSi maintained solar cell performance parameters such as pseudo fill factor (pFF) and quantum efficiency (QE) better than Cu/TiN contacts without NiSi and at least as good as Ti/Pd/Ag contacts on average.
These methods and materials were applied to high efficiency, textured, solar cells with passivated tunneling contacts. The viability of NiSi in this regime was evaluated by photoluminescence (PL), optical, and TLM measurements. Although the NiSi contact was shown to damage the passivation quality of the contact, a cell capable of an open circuit voltage near 700 mV could be produced using such a contact scheme. Contact resistances as low as 1.8 mOhm-cm2 were formed, as compared with industry standard screen printed Ag contacts which form best contact resistivities in the range of 1.5 mOhm-cm2.
Microelectronic Engineering (MS)
Department, Program, or Center
Microelectronic Engineering (KGCOE)
Santosh K. Kurinec
Robert E. Pearson
Marshall, Alexander Angus, "Nickel Silicide as a Contact and Diffusion Barrier for Copper Metallization in Silicon Photovoltaics" (2017). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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