Investigation of Reactive Silver Ink Formula for Reduced Silver Consumption in Silicon Heterojunction Metallization

Steven J. DiGregorio, Michael Martinez-Szewczyk, Subbarao Raikar, Mariana I. Bertoni, Owen J. Hildreth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Silver is the most expensive non-silicon component in photovoltaic cells. This is particularly salient for silicon heterojunction (SHJ) cells, which rely on large quantities of low-temperature silver pastes (LT-SP). SHJ cells would benefit greatly from an industrially scalable metallization process that simultaneously offers low silver consumption, low finger resistivities (<20 μΩ·cm), and low processing temperatures. Printed reactive silver inks (RSI) are an innovative candidate to this end. This work furthers the research on RSI metallization by investigating the impact of ink formula on properties pertinent to SHJ cells, including electrical properties, line width, ink splatter, silver consumption, cell performance, and adhesion. We introduce a scalable, high-throughput flexible needle contact printing approach for metallization that solves many of the issues associated with drop-on-demand printing. The printed silver fingers are characterized using electrical measurements and top-down and cross-sectional microscopy. The best performing ink, consisting of silver acetate, ethylamine, and formic acid, achieved silver fingers with total resistivities of 3.1 μΩ·cm and contact resistivities of 3.2 mΩ·cm2 when printed at 61 °C. This ink metallized a full-sized 156 mm × 156 mm SHJ cell. This is the first reported data for RSI metallization of a full-sized SHJ cell and shows how an optimized RSI can achieve similar performances to LT-SP while consuming 80-90% less silver.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2747-2757
Number of pages11
JournalACS Applied Energy Materials
Volume6
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 13 2023

Keywords

  • RSI
  • reactive silver ink
  • self-reducing reactive inks
  • silicon heterojunction metallization
  • silver consumption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrochemistry
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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