Enhanced photovoltaic performance of inverted pyramid-based nanostructured black-silicon solar cells passivated by an atomic-layer-deposited Al2O3 layer
Inverted pyramid-based nanostructured black-silicon (BS) solar cells with an Al2O3 passivation layer grown by atomic layer deposition (ALD) have been demonstrated. A multi-scale textured BS surface combining silicon nanowires (SiNWs) and inverted pyramids was obtained for the first time by lithography and metal catalyzed wet etching. The reflectance of the as-prepared BS surface was about 2% lower than that of the more commonly reported upright pyramid-based SiNW BS surface over the whole of the visible light spectrum, which led to a 1.7 mA cm−2 increase in short circuit current density. Moreover, the as-prepared solar cells were further passivated by an ALD-Al2O3 layer. The effect of annealing temperature on the photovoltaic performance of the solar cells was investigated. It was found that the values of all solar cell parameters including short circuit current, open circuit voltage, and fill factor exhibit a further increase under an optimized annealing temperature. Minority carrier lifetime measurements indicate that the enhanced cell performance is due to the improved passivation quality of the Al2O3 layer after thermal annealing treatments. By combining these two refinements, the optimized SiNW BS solar cells achieved a maximum conversion efficiency enhancement of 7.6% compared to the cells with an upright pyramid-based SiNWs surface and conventional SiNx passivation.