The objective of the research in this thesis was to develop high-efficiency n-type silicon solar cells at low-cost to reach grid parity. This was accomplished by reducing the electrical and optical losses in solar cells through understanding of fundamental physics and loss mechanisms, development of process technologies, cell design, and modeling. All these technology enhancements provided a 3.44% absolute increase in efficiency over the 17.4% efficient n-type PERT solar cell. Finally, 20.84% efficient n-type PERT (passivated emitter and rear totally diffused) solar cells were achieved on commercial grade 239cm2 n-type Cz silicon wafers with optimized front boron emitter without boron-rich layer and phosphorus back surface field, silicon dioxide/silicon nitride stack for surface passivation, optimized front grid pattern with screen printed 5 busbars and 100 gridlines, and improved rear contact with laser opening and physical vapor deposition aluminum. This thesis also suggested research directions to improve cell efficiency further and attain >=21% efficient n-type solar cells which involves three additional technology developments including the use of floating busbars, selective emitters, and negatively charged aluminum oxide (Al2O3) film for boron emitter surface passivation.
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MATIN Development Team