A Simulated Study of Silicon Solar Cell Power Output as a Function of Minority-Carrier Recombination Lifetime and Substrate Thickness

  • Choe, Kwang Su (Dept. of Electronic Materials Engineering, College of Engineering, The University of Suwon)
  • Received : 2015.06.22
  • Accepted : 2015.08.24
  • Published : 2015.09.27


In photovoltaic power generation where minority carrier generation via light absorption is competing against minority carrier recombination, the substrate thickness and material quality are interdependent, and appropriate combination of the two variables is important in obtaining the maximum output power generation. Medici, a two-dimensional semiconductor device simulation tool, is used to investigate the interdependency in relation to the maximum power output in front-lit Si solar cells. Qualitatively, the results indicate that a high quality substrate must be thick and that a low quality substrate must be thin in order to achieve the maximum power generation in the respective materials. The dividing point is $70{\mu}m/5{\times}10^{-6}sec$. That is, for materials with a minority carrier recombination lifetime longer than $5{\times}10^{-6}sec$, the substrate must be thicker than $70{\mu}m$, while for materials with a lifetime shorter than $5{\times}10^{-6}sec$, the substrate must be thinner than $70{\mu}m$. In substrate fabrication, the thinner the wafer, the lower the cost of material, but the higher the cost of wafer fabrication. Thus, the optimum thickness/lifetime combinations are defined in this study along with the substrate cost considerations as part of the factors to be considered in material selection.


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