In this study, the cross-section of electron-selective titanium oxide (TiO2) contacts for n-type crystalline silicon solar cells were investigated by transmission electron microscopy. It was revealed that the excellent cell efficiency of 21.6% obtained on n-type cells, featuring SiO2/TiO2/Al rear contacts and after forming gas annealing (FGA) at 350°C, is due to strong surface passivation of SiO2/TiO2 stack as well as low contact resistivity at the Si/SiO2/TiO2 heterojunction. This can be attributed to the transformation of amorphous TiO2 to a conducting TiO2−x
phase. Conversely, the low efficiency (9.8%) obtained on cells featuring an a-Si:H/TiO2/Al rear contact is due to severe degradation of passivation of the a-Si:H upon FGA.