Impact of pre-fabrication treatments on n-type UMG wafers for 21% efficient silicon heterojunction solar cells

Rabin Basnet, William Weigand, Zhengshan J. Yu, Chang Sun, Sieu P. Phang, Hang C. Sio, Fiacre E. Rougieux, Zachary C. Holman, Daniel Macdonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Silicon heterojunction solar cells achieve high conversion efficiency due to the excellent surface passivation provided by the hydrogenated intrinsic amorphous silicon films. However, they require a high-quality wafer as a starting material because their low-temperature processing does not allow for gettering. Czochralski-grown upgraded metallurgical-grade (UMG-Cz) silicon is a low-cost alternative to electronic-grade silicon for silicon solar cells, but is often limited in lifetime by grown-in defects. We have previously shown that pre-fabrication treatments, namely tabula rasa, phosphorus diffusion gettering, and hydrogenation, can significantly improve the bulk quality of UMG-Cz wafers. These help to mitigate the impact of grown-in oxygen precipitate nuclei and metallic impurities. In this work, we fabricate rear-junction silicon heterojunction solar cells on both as-grown and pre-treated UMG-Cz and electronic-grade wafers. We show that pre-fabrication treatments have a marked impact on solar cell efficiencies. With pre-fabrication treatment, the efficiency improves from 18.0% to 21.2% for the UMG-Cz cells and 21.2%–22.7% for the electronic-grade cells. Comparison of the open-circuit voltages of the as-grown and pre-treated UMG-Cz and electronic-grade cells using Quokka simulations reveals that the bulk lifetime remains the primary limiting factor for the UMG-Cz wafers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110287
JournalSolar Energy Materials and Solar Cells
StatePublished - Feb 2020


  • Czochralski silicon
  • Hydrogenation
  • Phosphorus diffusion gettering
  • Silicon heterojunction solar cells
  • Solar-grade silicon
  • Tabula rasa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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