Numerical Simulations of IBC Solar Cells Based on Poly-Si Carrier-Selective Passivating Contacts

Paul Procel*, Guangtao Yang, Olindo Isabella, Miro Zeman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
52 Downloads (Pure)


This paper presents an analysis of physical mechanisms related to operation and optimization of interdigitated back contact (IBC) poly-silicon-based devices. Concepts of carrier selectivity and tunneling are used to identify the parameters that impact on the fill factor. Then, based on technology computer-aided design (TCAD) numerical simulations, we describe the device performance in terms of transport and passivation. A validation of the model is performed by matching measured and simulated R, T, and external quantum efficiency spectra and electrical parameters. As result of such process, the opto-electrical losses of the reference device are identified. Then, we execute a study of the impact of process parameters on the performance of the IBC device under analysis. Assuming a uniform SiO 2 layer, simulation results reveal that both n-type and p-type poly-Si contacts can be theoretically perfect (i.e., approx. lossless), if assuming no interface recombination but considering tunneling of both carrier types. In other words, there exists an optimum oxide thickness (1 nm) for which majority carriers tunneling works already very well, and minority tunneling is still low enough to not result in significant recombination. Moreover, SiO 2 thickness up to maximum 1.6 nm is crucial to achieve high efficiency. Regarding rear geometry analysis, the efficiency curve as a function of emitter width peaks at 70% of pitch coverage. Further, it is shown that diffused dopants inside crystalline silicon make the device resilient to passivation quality. Finally, the calibrated model is used to perform an optimization study aiming at calculating the performance limit. The estimated performance limit is 27.3% for a 100-μm-thick bulk, 20-nm-thick poly-silicon layers, silver as rear contact, and double ARC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8626188
Pages (from-to)374-384
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Journal of Photovoltaics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • IBC solar cells
  • passivating contacts
  • poly-silicon
  • semiconductors device modeling


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