In this study, NiSi has been formed as the contact for copper front metallization on laboratory silicon solar cells. Transfer length method (TLM) measurements were used to examine the resistive nature of the contact. The scalability of the measurement itself was also examined. Characterization of the NiSi films for thickness, resistivity and composition were performed. Single crystal silicon solar cells were fabricated and used in temperature stress tests of the degradation of the pseudo-fill factor (pFF) and quantum efficiency (QE) to assess the capabilities of the NiSi diffusion barrier. Best contact resistivities of 7.3e-6 Ohm-cm2 with NiSi only and 4.0e-5 Ohm-cm2 with NiSi/Cu/TiN were measured. Even following a week of temperature stress, NiSi maintained solar cell performance parameters such as pseudo fill factor (pFF) and quantum efficiency (QE) better than Cu/TiN contacts without NiSi and at least as good as Ti/Pd/Ag contacts on average.

These methods and materials were applied to high efficiency, textured, solar cells with passivated tunneling contacts. The viability of NiSi in this regime was evaluated by photoluminescence (PL), optical, and TLM measurements. Although the NiSi contact was shown to damage the passivation quality of the contact, a cell capable of an open circuit voltage near 700 mV could be produced using such a contact scheme. Contact resistances as low as 1.8 mOhm-cm2 were formed, as compared with industry standard screen printed Ag contacts which form best contact resistivities in the range of 1.5 mOhm-cm2.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Solar cells; Photovoltaic power generation; Metallizing; Nickel alloys

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Microelectronic Engineering (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Microelectronic Engineering (KGCOE)


Santosh K. Kurinec

Advisor/Committee Member

Michael Jackson

Advisor/Committee Member

Robert E. Pearson


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at TK2960 .M37 2017


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes