Conductive and Stable Magnesium Oxide Electron-Selective Contacts for Efficient Silicon Solar Cells

Yimao Wan*, Chris Samundsett, James Bullock, Mark Hettick, Thomas Allen, Di Yan, Jun Peng, Yiliang Wu, Jie Cui, Ali Javey, Andres Cuevas

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    184 Citations (Scopus)


    A high Schottky barrier (>0.65 eV) for electrons is typically found on lightly doped n-type crystalline (c-Si) wafers for a variety of contact metals. This behavior is commonly attributed to the Fermi-level pinning effect and has hindered the development of n-type c-Si solar cells, while its p-type counterparts have been commercialized for several decades, typically utilizing aluminium alloys in full-area, and more recently, partial-area rear contact configurations. Here the authors demonstrate a highly conductive and thermally stable electrode composed of a magnesium oxide/aluminium (MgOx/Al) contact, achieving moderately low resistivity Ohmic contacts on lightly doped n-type c-Si. The electrode, functionalized with nanoscale MgOx films, significantly enhances the performance of n-type c-Si solar cells to a power conversion efficiency of 20%, advancing n-type c-Si solar cells with full-area dopant-free rear contacts to a point of competitiveness with the standard p-type architecture. The low thermal budget of the cathode formation, its dopant-free nature, and the simplicity of the device structure enabled by the MgOx/Al contact open up new possibilities in designing and fabricating low-cost optoelectronic devices, including solar cells, thin film transistors, or light emitting diodes.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalAdvanced Energy Materials
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2017


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