There is tremendous interest in reducing losses caused by the metal contacts in silicon photovoltaics, particularly the optical and resistive losses of the front metal grid. One commonly sought after goal is the creation of high aspect-ratio metal fingers which provide an optically narrow and low resistance pathway to the external circuit. Currently, the most widely used metal contact deposition techniques are limited to widths and aspect-ratios of ~40 μm and ~0.5, respectively. In this study, we introduce the use of a micropatterned polydimethylsiloxane encapsulation layer to form narrow (~20 μm) microchannels, with aspect-ratios up to 8, on the surface of solar cells. We demonstrate that low temperature metal pastes, electroless plating and atomic layer deposition can all be used within the microchannels. Further, we fabricate proof-of-concept structures including simple planar silicon heterojunction and homojunction solar cells. While preliminary in both design and efficiency, these results demonstrate the potential of this approach and its compatibility with current solar cell architectures.
Project end date: 01/29/18