To enable sustainably PV deployment in muti-TW scale, novel metallization approaches to significantly reduce secure material usages but still remain solar cells in high efficiency and low cost is critical and urgent. PV industries work on different routes via contact patterning design, screen-printing paste modification or plating equipment upgrading to achieve this goal.

However, each approach could encounter fundamental limitations in cell efficiency or/and have concerns in low term reliabilities. The hybrid metallization design could make use the advantages and avoid downsides in those approaches either based on screen-printing (SP) or plating technologies. The primary results have shown that such design can lead up to 0.3% abs efficiency gains with the improvements in electrical properties being well investigated. However, the overall efficiency enhancement was found yet to be fully explained, likely due to its optical properties not being considered comprehensively. In typical plated contacts, the sphere-like crystal structure could bounce more light back into the cell, leading to reduced shading loss of such plated fingers. In hybrid SP/plated contacts, although no such sphere-like crystal is formed, the uniform surface feature of plated layer might still enhance light trapping. Therefore, it is valuable to study the optical enhancement potential of hybrid metallization design.    


Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering

Research Area

Machine learning | Renewable energy systems modelling | Energy meteorology

This project aims to investigate the optical properties of hybrid SP/plated contacts. The uniform plated layer has filled the voids and roughness on SP fingers, resulting in enhanced light bouncing back into the cell. Such hybrid metallisation design can already increase the cell efficiency and reduce secure material usage via improved electrical properties. By further studying the optical properties, it is highly possible to further improve the cell or/and module performance. Numerical modelling via different simulations tools such as Lumerical FDTD Solutions and SunSolve will be used to probe its light trapping potential. Selected design conditions will then be fabricated and characterized to validate the model as well as identify the fabrication challenges. Design optimisation will be well studied to get a good trade-off between optical and electrical properties, thereby achieving best cell/module efficiency.  In summary, this ToR project will focus on design analysis of the optical properties of hybrid screen-print/plating contacts to probe the potential and challenges in such design, thereby enabling its efficient technology development in PV manufacturing.  

This TOR project will be mainly supervised by Dr. Atom Chang and Dr. Li Wang. Besides, other support can also be provided by the rest of research team, including A. Prof. Brett Hallam, Dr. Yuchao Zhang and other post-docs and research assistant.

Throughout the project duration, students are expected to carry out/obtain:

  • In-depth literature review to understand industrial-relevant metallisation technologies and their key limitations.
  • Designing and performing numerical study of hybrid SP/plating contacts via different simulation software. 
  • Characterisations of hybrid SP/plating contacts and analysing results. 
  • Opportunity for conference/journal paper publication.
  • Opportunity for thesis project/PhD program.