High-efficiency Silicon Heterojunction Solar Cells: A Review

Stefaan De Wolf 1 , Antoine Descoeudres 1 , Zachary C. Holman 1 , and Christophe Ballif 1
  • 1 Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Institute of Microengineering (IMT), Photovoltaics and Thin-Film Electronics Laboratory, Breguet 2, CH-2000 Neuchâtel, Switzerland


Silicon heterojunction solar cells consist of thin amorphous silicon layers deposited on crystalline silicon wafers. This design enables energy conversion efficiencies above 20% at the industrial production level. The key feature of this technology is that the metal contacts, which are highly recombination active in traditional, diffused-junction cells, are electronically separated from the absorber by insertion of a wider bandgap layer. This enables the record open-circuit voltages typically associated with heterojunction devices without the need for expensive patterning techniques. This article reviews the salient points of this technology. First, we briefly elucidate device characteristics. This is followed by a discussion of each processing step, device operation, and device stability and industrial upscaling, including the fabrication of solar cells with energy-conversion efficiencies over 21%. Finally, future trends are pointed out.

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