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Al2O3 was deposited on silicon nanowire (SiNW) arrays by atomic layer deposition (ALD) as a passivation layer to reduce surface recombination velocity. As a result, effective minority carrier lifetime was improved from 1.82 to 26.2 μs. From this result, the relative low-surface recombination rate of 2.73 cm/s was obtained from a calculation using one-dimensional device simulation (PC1D). The performance of SiNW solar cells was also simulated by considering the surface recombination velocity on the side of SiNWs using two-dimensional device simulation. It was found that Al2O3 deposited by ALD can improve open-circuit voltage of SiNW solar cells even if the structure has a high-aspect ratio and large surface area. Therefore, improvement in the performance of SiNW solar cells can be expected.
The electrical characteristics of silicon nanowire (SiNW) solar cells with p-type hydrogenated amorphous silicon oxide (Eg=1.9 eV)/n-type SiNWs embedded in SiO2/n-type hydrogenated amorphous silicon (Eg=1.7 eV) structure have been investigated using a two-dimensional device simulator with taking the quantum size effects into account. The average bandgap of a SiNW embedded in SiO2 increased from 1.15 eV to 2.71 eV with decreasing the diameter from 10 nm to 1 nm due to the quantum size effect. It should be noted that under the sunlight with AM1.5G the open-circuit voltage (Voc) of SiNW solar cells also increased to 1.54 V with decreasing the diameter of the SiNWs to 1 nm. This result suggests that it is possible to enhance the Voc by the quantum size effect and a SiNW is a promising material for the all silicon tandem solar cells.
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