Black silicon solar cells push efficiency record to 22.1 percent

May 19, 2015 // By Paul Buckley
Researchers at Finland's Aalto University in cooperation with Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya have achieved record-breaking efficiency of 22.1% on nanostructured silicon solar cells as certified by Fraunhofer ISE CalLab.

An almost 4% absolute increase to their previous record has been achieved by applying a thin passivating film on the nanostructures by Atomic Layer Deposition, and by integrating all metal contacts on the back side of the cell.

The surface recombination has long been the bottleneck of black silicon solar cells and has so far limited the cell efficiencies to only modest values. The new record cells consists of a thick back-contacted structure that is known to be highly sensitive to the front surface recombination. The certified external quantum efficiency of 96% at 300 nm wavelength demonstrates that the increased surface recombination problem no longer exists and for the first time the black silicon is not limiting the final energy conversion efficiency.

"The energy conversion efficiency is not the only parameter that we should look at," explained Professor Hele Savin from Aalto University, who coordinated the study. "Due to the ability of black cells to capture solar radiation from low angles, they generate more electricity already over the duration of one day as compared to the traditional cells".