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Nanostructure Formation and Passivation of Large-Area Black Silicon for Solar Cell Applications



Nanoscale textured silicon and its passivation are explored by simple low-cost metal-assisted chemical etching and thermal oxidation, and large-area black silicon was fabricated both on single-crystalline Si and multicrystalline Si for solar cell applications. When the Si surface was etched by HF/AgNO3 solution for 4 or 5 min, nanopores formed in the Si surface, 50–100 nm in diameter and 200–300 nm deep. The nanoscale textured silicon surface turns into an effective medium with a gradually varying refractive index, which leads to the low reflectivity and black appearance of the samples. Mean reflectance was reduced to as low as 2% for crystalline Si and 4% for multicrystalline Si from 300 to 1000 nm, with no antireflective (AR) coating. A black-etched multicrystalline-Si of 156 mm × 156 mm was used to fabricate a primary solar cell with no surface passivation or AR coating. Its conversion efficiency (η) was 11.5%. The cell conversion efficiency was increased greatly by using surface passivation process, which proved very useful in suppressing excess carrier recombination on the nanostructured surface. Finally, a black m-Si cell with efficiency of 15.8% was achieved by using SiO2 and SiNX bilayer passivation structure, indicating that passivation plays a key role in large-scale manufacture of black silicon solar cells.