Solar energy is a viable, rapidly growing and an important renewable alternative to other sources of energy generation because of its abundant supply and low manufacturing cost. Silicon still remains the major contributor for manufacturing solar cells accounting for 80% of the market share. Of this, single-crystal solar cells account for half of the share. Laboratory cells have demonstrated 25% efficiency; however, commercial cells have efficiencies of 16% - 20% resulting from a focus on implementation processes geared to rapid throughput and low cost, thereby reducing the energy pay-back time. An example would be the use of metal pastes which dissolve the dielectric during the firing process as opposed to lithographically defined contacts. With current trends of single-crystal silicon photovoltaic (PV) module prices down to $0.60/W, almost all other PV technologies are challenged to remain cost competitive. This presents a unique opportunity in revisiting the PV cell fabrication process and incorporating moderately more expensive IC process practices into PV manufacturing. While they may drive the cost toward a $1/W benchmark, there is substantial room to "experiment", leading to higher efficiencies which will help maintain the overall system cost.

This work entails a turn-key process designed to provide a platform for rapid evaluation of novel materials and processes. A two-step lithographic process yielding a baseline 11% - 13% efficient cell is described. Results of three studies have shown improvements in solar cell output parameters due to the inclusion of a back-surface field implant, a higher emitter doping and also an additional RCA Clean.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Solar cells--Materials; Solar cells--Design and construction; Silicon crystals

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Microelectronic Engineering (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Microelectronic Engineering (KGCOE)


Michael A. Jackson

Advisor/Committee Member

Santosh K. Kurinec

Advisor/Committee Member

Robert E. Pearson


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at TK2960 .B64 2014


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes