Impurity-to-efficiency simulator: Predictive simulation of silicon solar cell performance based on iron content and distribution

J. Hofstetter, D. P. Fenning, M. I. Bertoni, J. F. Lelièvre, C. Del Cañizo, T. Buonassisi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


We present a simulation tool that predicts solar cell efficiency based on iron content in as-grown wafer and solar cell processing conditions. This "impurity-to-efficiency" (I2E) simulation tool consists of three serial components, which are independently and jointly validated using published experimental results: (1) a kinetic model that calculates changes in the distribution of iron and phosphorus atoms during annealing; (2) an electronic model that predicts depth-dependent minority carrier lifetime based on iron distribution; and (3) a device simulator that predicts solar cell performance based on the minority carrier lifetime distribution throughout the wafer and the device architecture. The I2E model is demonstrated to be an effective predictor of cell performance for both single-crystalline and multi-crystalline silicon solar cells. We demonstrate the process optimization potential for the I2E simulator by analyzing efficiency improvements obtained using low-temperature annealing, a processing concept that has been successfully applied to achieve higher solar cell efficiencies on Fe-contaminated materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)487-497
Number of pages11
JournalProgress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • gettering
  • impurities
  • silicon solar cells
  • simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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