Increased surface recombination in crystalline silicon under light soaking due to Cu contamination

Ismo TS Rauha, Anastasia H Soeriyadi, Moonyong Kim, Marko Yli-Koski, Brendan Wright, Ville Vähänissi, Brett J Hallam, Hele Savin

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Light-induced degradation (LID) can occur in crystalline silicon (Si) due to increased recombination in the bulk or at the surfaces. As an example, copper (Cu) is a contaminant that reportedly causes LID in the bulk of Si under illumination. In this article, we show that Cu contamination can also increase recombination at the surface under illumination using surface saturation current density (J 0) analysis. More specifically, in the presence of Cu we observed that J 0 increased from 14 fA/cm 2 to 330 fA/cm 2 in SiO 2 passivated Float Zone (FZ) Si, and from 11 fA/cm 2 to 200 fA/cm 2 in corresponding Czochralski (Cz) Si after illumination under an LED lamp (0.6 Suns, 80 °C). In reference samples without Cu contamination, the J 0 was unaffected. These results demonstrate that a significant increase in surface recombination is possible without the presence of hydrogen. Furthermore, hydrogen was not seen to affect the Cu-induced surface degradation as similar experiments made with hydrogenated silicon nitride (SiN x:H) did not show further increase in J 0. However, the timescale of the observed degradation was relatively fast (hours) indicating that Cu-induced surface degradation is a separate phenomenon from the earlier reported surface-related degradation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111360
Number of pages7
JournalSolar Energy Materials and Solar Cells
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • p-type silicon
  • Surface passivation
  • Surface-related degradation
  • Cu contamination
  • Light soaking


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