Copper-Plating Metallization With Alternative Seed Layers for c-Si Solar Cells Embedding Carrier-Selective Passivating Contacts

Gianluca Limodio, Yvar de Groot, Gerwin van Kuler, Luana Mazzarella, Yifeng Zhao, Paul Procel, Guangtao Yang, Olindo Isabella, Miro Zeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


In this article, we develop in parallel two fabrication methods for copper (Cu) electroplated contacts suitable for either silicon nitride or transparent conductive oxide antireflective coatings. We employ alternative seed layers, such as evaporated Ag or Ti, and optimize the Ti-Cu or Ag-Cu contacts with respect to uniformity of plating and aspect ratio of the final plated grid. Moreover, we test plating/deplating sequence instead of a direct current plating or the SiO 2 layer approach to solve undesired plating outside the designed contact openings. The main objective of this paper is to explore the physical limit of this contact formation technology keeping the process compatible with industrial needs. In addition, we employ the optimized Cu-plating contacts in three different front/back-contacted crystalline silicon solar cells architectures: 1) silicon heterojunction solar cell with hydrogenated nanocrystalline silicon oxide as doped layers, 2) thin SiO 2/doped poly-Si-poly-Si solar cell, and 3) hybrid solar cell endowed with rear thin SiO 2/poly-Si contact and front heterojunction contact. To investigate the metallization quality, we compare fabricated devices to reference ones obtained with standard front metallization (Ag screen printing and Al evaporation). We observe a relatively small drop in V OC by 5 to 10 mV by using Cu-plating front grid, whereas fill factor was improved for solar cells with Cu-plated front contact if compared with evaporated Al.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8937035
Pages (from-to)372-382
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Journal of Photovoltaics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • Photovoltaic (PV)
  • Photovoltaic cells
  • PV process control
  • Si PV device fabrication


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