Passivated contacts are a critical component of state-of-the-art high-efficiency solar cells. They allow for efficient charge carrier collection while minimizing losses due to recombination at the contact interface. The purpose of this project is to develop passivated contacts that can lead to the next wave of commercial solar cell efficiency improvements.
The project will involve experimental testing of plasma-enhanced chemical vapour deposition (PECVD) titanium dioxide (TiO2) passivated contact structures, supported with simulations of solar cell devices. Alternative materials can also be tested, depending on the project progress. We will explore the wide parameters space that high-throughput PECVD processing enables, to optimize the performance of the deposited passivated contact. Undergraduate students will have the opportunity to learn about the principles of passivation in solar cells, as well as gain experience in materials analysis, device fabrication, and solar cell characterization techniques.
The goal of the project is to develop a high-efficiency passivated contact design that can be integrated into commercial solar cells, making solar energy more competitive and accessible as a renewable energy source. By participating in this project, students will be contributing to the development of next-generation solar technologies and helping to address the global challenge of climate change.
In this project, you will work with the ACDC Research Group. Our team is made up of over 20 researchers and students. We are a diverse and multi-disciplinary team, specialising in next-gen solar cell measurement and development. The group has a friendly and social atmosphere. We have students who finished a ToR project with us, stayed for their UGrad thesis, and later transitioned to a PhD in the group.
You will work with Dr. John Rodriguez, under the supervision of Prof. Ziv Hameiri. John is a solar cell fabrication specialist with over a decade of PV R&D experience. He served as the ‘passivated contact’ Team Leader at the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS) between 2017–2021 and guided the institute’s industrial passivated contact solar cell research, a role which has directly influenced global PV production’s push towards polysilicon-based passivated contacts. Many other PV experts will also help and guide you during this project. We will ensure a smooth start and be there to guide you along the way as you develop your own independent research skills.
The outcome of this project will be the development of PECVD-based, high-efficiency, passivated contact layers for next-gen TOPCon devices. We will start with: (i) the process optimisation of electron-selective titanium dioxide (TiO2) PECVD layers, for which we have a baseline process, to maximise passivation and conductivity as well as minimise optical losses; followed by (ii) the exploration of techniques to manipulate TiO2 layers to enable hole-selectivity (see attached Matsui paper).
Depending on the success of your work, we will: (i) build solar cell models based on measured properties of the layers to project their impact (improvement) on state-of-the art TOPCon devices; and (ii) deposit the layers on solar cell precursors to create working solar cell devices with project partners.
This research is of great interest for next-gen TOPCon devices and could define future industry trends. There will be opportunities to publish the outcomes as a conference paper or journal paper. Some of our previous ToR students have even presented their work in the USA and Japan! The most important outcome of the project, however, will be you: an undergraduate student who enjoys doing research, equipped with the basic skills needed for a UGrad thesis, PhD, or career in research.