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Among the metals, magnesium has one of the lowest work functions, with a value of 3.7 eV. This makes it very suitable to form an electron-conductive cathode contact for silicon solar cells. We present here the experimental demonstration of an amorphous silicon/magnesium/aluminium (a-Si:H/Mg/Al) passivating contact for silicon solar cells. The conduction properties of a thermally evaporated Mg/Al contact structure on -type crystalline silicon (c-Si) are investigated, achieving a low resistivity Ohmic contact to moderately doped -type c-Si (∼5 × 1015 cm−3) of ∼0.31 Ω cm2 and ∼0.22 Ω cm2 for samples with and without an amorphous silicon passivating interlayer, respectively. Application of the passivating cathode to the whole rear surface of -type front junction c-Si solar cells leads to a power conversion efficiency of 19% in a proof-of-concept device. The low thermal budget of the cathode formation, its dopant-less nature, and the simplicity of the device structure enabled by the Mg/Al contact open up possibilities in designing and fabricating low-cost silicon solar cells.


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