The most efficient industrial solar cells are based on n-type silicon, as opposed to the p-type silicon used for standard solar modules. This is due to the fact that n-type silicon is less sensitive to the most common defects and impurities that occur in silicon solar cells. Recently, the effective use of hydrogen to passivate these defects in p-type silicon has meant that the gap between p-type and n-type wafer quality is closing. However, to date, the use of hydrogen to improve n-type silicon has not been explored in detail. In this project we will identify the dominant defects in high quality n-type Czochralski-grown and cast monocrystalline silicon wafers, and explore the potential of hydrogen to partially or completely eliminate these defects. Building on our expertise in n-type devices, high efficiency n-type silicon solar cells incorporating the hydrogenation processes developed in this project would also be fabricated in the laboratories at ANU.
The project will be mostly experimental, and would suit a student with a background in semiconductors or materials engineering. The project would be supervised by Prof Daniel Macdonald and Dr Chang Sun. It will involve close collaboration with leading manufacturer Jinko Solar, and with Dr Brett Hallam’s team at UNSW, who have pioneered recent advances in defect hydrogenation in p-type silicon.