(19)
(11)EP 2 988 336 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
17.06.2020 Bulletin 2020/25

(21)Application number: 15002380.2

(22)Date of filing:  10.08.2015
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
H01L 31/0224(2006.01)
H01L 31/0747(2012.01)
H01L 31/0745(2012.01)
H01L 31/0352(2006.01)

(54)

SOLAR CELL AND METHOD FOR MANUFACTURING THE SAME

SOLARZELLE UND VERFAHREN ZUR HERSTELLUNG DAVON

CELLULE SOLAIRE ET SON PROCÉDÉ DE FABRICATION


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 20.08.2014 KR 20140108303

(43)Date of publication of application:
24.02.2016 Bulletin 2016/08

(73)Proprietor: LG Electronics Inc.
Yeongdeungpo-gu Seoul 150-721 (KR)

(72)Inventors:
  • Yang, Youngsung
    153-802 Seoul (KR)
  • Choi, Junghoon
    153-802 Seoul (KR)
  • Kim, Chungyi
    153-802 Seoul (KR)

(74)Representative: Katérle, Axel 
Wuesthoff & Wuesthoff Patentanwälte PartG mbB Schweigerstraße 2
81541 München
81541 München (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
GB-A- 2 491 209
US-B1- 7 468 485
US-A1- 2007 256 728
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION


    1. Field of the invention



    [0001] The present invention relates to a solar cell and a method for manufacturing the same and, more particularly, to a solar cell having a tunneling structure and a method for manufacturing the same.

    2. Description of the Related Art



    [0002] In recent years, as conventional energy resources such as petroleum and coal are running out, interest in alternative energy resources replacing these energy resources is on the rise. Of these, solar cells which convert solar energy into electrical energy are attracting considerable attention as next generation cells.

    [0003] Such a solar cell is manufactured by forming various layers and electrodes according to design. Efficiency of solar cells may be determined according to the design of various layers and electrodes. Low efficiency should be overcome so that solar cells can be put to practical use. Accordingly, various layers and electrodes should be designed such that solar cell efficiency is maximized.

    [0004] UK Patent Application GB 2491209 A discloses a solar cell having back semiconductor regions separated by a barrier region.

    SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



    [0005] Embodiments of the invention provide a solar cell having enhanced efficiency and a method for manufacturing the same. A solar cell in accordance with claim 1 includes: a semiconductor substrate; a tunneling layer formed on a surface of the semiconductor substrate; a p-type region and a n-type region formed on the tunneling layer, the p- and n-type regions being disposed next to each other in a direction parallel to the surface of the semiconductor substrate and being separated by a barrier region; an electrode structure electrically connected to the p- and n-type regions, wherein the barrier region includes an intrinsic semiconductor portion and a buffer portion located between the intrinsic semiconductor portion and the tunneling layer, the buffer portion having stronger electrical insulating property than the intrinsic semiconductor portion.

    [0006] A method for manufacturing a solar cell in accordance with claim 14 includes: forming a tunneling layer on a surface of a semiconductor substrate; forming a p-type region, a barrier region and a n-type region on the tunneling layer next to each other in a direction parallel to the surface of the semiconductor substrate, so that the p- and n-type regions are separated by a barrier region; forming an electrode structure electrically connected to the p- and n-type regions, wherein the barrier region includes an intrinsic semiconductor portion and a buffer portion located between the intrinsic semiconductor portion and the tunneling layer, the buffer portion having stronger electrical insulating property than the intrinsic semiconductor portion.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0007] 

    FIG. 1 is a sectional view of a solar cell according to an embodiment of the invention.

    FIG. 2 is a partial rear plan view of the solar cell illustrated in FIG. 1.

    FIGs. 3a to 3h are sectional views illustrating a method for manufacturing a solar cell according to an embodiment of the invention.

    FIG. 4 is a sectional view of a solar cell according to another embodiment of the invention.

    FIG. 5 is a sectional view of a solar cell according to a still another embodiment of the invention.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS



    [0008] Reference will now be made in detail to embodiments of the invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. However, the invention may be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein.

    [0009] Like reference numerals refer to like elements throughout the description. In the drawings, the thicknesses, areas, etc., of constituent elements may be exaggerated or reduced for clarity and convenience of illustration. The invention is not limited to the illustrated thicknesses, areas, etc.

    [0010] It will be further understood that, throughout this specification, when one element is referred to as "comprising" or "including" another element, the term "comprising" or "including" specifies the presence of another element but does not preclude the presence of other additional elements, unless context clearly indicates otherwise. In addition, it will be understood that when one element such as a layer, a layer, a region or a plate is referred to as being "on" another element, the one element may be directly on the another element, and one or more intervening elements may also be present. In contrast, when one element such as a layer, a layer, a region or a plate is referred to as being "directly on" another element, one or more intervening elements are not present.

    [0011] Hereinafter, a solar cell according to an embodiment of the invention will be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings.

    [0012] Hereinafter, the term conductive region may be used to designate a semiconductor region or doped silicon oxide region.

    [0013] FIG. 1 is a sectional view of a solar cell according to an embodiment of the invention, and FIG. 2 is a partial rear plan view of the solar cell illustrated in FIG. 1.

    [0014] Referring to FIGs. 1 and 2, a solar cell 100 according to an embodiment includes a semiconductor substrate 10 including a base region 110, a tunneling layer 20 on a surface of the semiconductor substrate 10, a buffer layer 22 on the tunneling layer 20, conductive type regions 32 and 34, and electrodes 42 and 44 connected to the conductive type regions 32 and 34, respectively. The buffer layer 22 is a separate layer or a different layer from the tunneling layer 20 and includes a buffer portion 22c. The buffer layer 22 is positioned adjacent to the tunneling layer 20 and is distant from the electrodes 42 and 44. In the embodiment, the buffer layer 22 may include a semi-insulating material (or the buffer layer 22 may be formed of a layer including or consisting of a semi-insulating material) having a material, a composition, and/or a crystalline structure different from those of the tunneling layer 20. The conductive type regions include a first conductive type region 32 having a first conductivity type and a second conductive type region 34 having a second conductivity type. The first and second conductive type regions 32 and 34 are positioned on the same plane. A barrier region 36 may be positioned between the first conductive type region 32 and the second conducive type region 34. The buffer portion 22c constitutes a part of the barrier region 36. Also, the solar cell 100 may further include a passivation layer 24, an anti-reflective layer 26, an insulating layer 40, and the like. This will be described in more detail.

    [0015] The semiconductor substrate 10 may include the base region 110 including a dopant of the second conductivity type with a relatively low doping concentration to have the second conductive type. The base region 110 may include a crystalline semiconductor including the second conductive type dopant. For example, the base region 110 may include a single-crystalline or polycrystalline semiconductor (for example, single-crystalline or polycrystalline silicon) including the second conductive type dopant. Particularly, the base region 110 may be a single-crystalline semiconductor (e.g., a single-crystalline wafer, more particularly, a single-crystalline silicon wafer) including the second conductive type dopant. When the base region 110 includes the single-crystalline silicon, the solar cell 100 is a single-crystalline silicon solar cell. The solar cell 100 is based on the base region 110 or the semiconductor substrate 10 including the single-crystalline silicon with a high degree of crystallinity and a low degree of defects, and thus, the solar cell 100 has an enhanced electrical property.

    [0016] The second conductive type may be an n-type or a p-type. For example, when the base region 110 is an n-type, the first conductive type region 32 is of a p-type to form a junction (e.g., a pn junction with the tunneling layer 20 disposed therebetween) that forms carriers by photoelectric conversion with the base region 110 and has a wide area and thus a photoelectric conversion area may be increased. In addition, in this instance, the first conductive type region 32 having a wide area effectively collects holes having a relatively slow movement rate and thus may further contribute to improvement in photoelectric conversion efficiency. However, the embodiment of the invention is not limited to the above examples.

    [0017] In addition, the semiconductor substrate 10 may include a front surface field region 130 at a front surface thereof. The front surface field region 130 may have the same conductive type as that of the base region 110 and a higher doping concentration than the base region 110.

    [0018] In the embodiment of the invention, the front surface field region 130 is a doping region formed by doping the semiconductor substrate 10 with a second conductive type dopant at a relatively high doping concentration. Accordingly, the front surface field region 130 constitutes the semiconductor substrate 10, including a crystalline (single-crystalline or polycrystalline) semiconductor of the second conductive type. For example, the front surface field region 130 may be formed as a portion of a single-crystalline semiconductor substrate (e.g., a single-crystalline silicon wafer substrate) of a second conductive type. However, the embodiment of the invention is not limited to the above examples. Thus, the front surface field region 130 may be formed by doping a semiconductor layer separated from the semiconductor substrate 10 (e.g., an amorphous semiconductor layer, a micro-crystalline semiconductor layer, or a polycrystalline semiconductor layer) with a second conductive type dopant. In another embodiment of the invention, the front surface field region 130 may be a field region that acts similarly to a region formed through doping by fixed charges of a layer (e.g., the passivation layer 24 and/or the anti-reflective layer 26) formed adjacent to the semiconductor substrate 10. For example, when the base region 110 is the n-type, the passivation layer 24 may include an oxide having fixed negative charge (for example, an aluminum oxide) to form an inversion layer at the surface of the base region 110. The inversion layer may be used as the field region. In this case, the semiconductor substrate 10 does not include an additional doping region and consists of the base region 110, and thus, the defect of the semiconductor substrate 10 can be minimized. The front surface field region 130 having various structures may be formed using various other methods.

    [0019] In the embodiment of the invention, the front surface of the semiconductor substrate 10 may be textured to have an uneven surface (or protruded portions and/or depressed portions) in the form of a pyramid, or the like. Through the texturing process, the uneven portion is formed at the front surface of the semiconductor substrate 10 and thus surface roughness thereof increases, whereby reflectance of light incident upon the front surface of the semiconductor substrate 10 may be reduced. Accordingly, the amount of light reaching a pn junction formed by the base region 110 and the first conductive type region 32 may be increased and, consequently, light loss may be minimized.

    [0020] Meanwhile, the back surface of the semiconductor substrate 10 may be a relatively smooth and even surface formed by mirror polishing or the like and having a lower surface roughness than the front surface of the semiconductor substrate 10. As in the embodiment of the invention, when the first and second conductive type regions 32 and 34 are formed together on the back surface of the semiconductor substrate 10, characteristics of the solar cell 100 may largely vary according to characteristics of the back surface of the semiconductor substrate 10. Since an uneven portion by texturing is not formed at the back surface of the semiconductor substrate 10, passivation characteristics may be enhanced and, accordingly, the characteristics of the solar cell 100 may be enhanced. However, the embodiment of the invention is not limited to the above example. In some instances, an uneven portion may be formed at the back surface of the semiconductor substrate 10 by texturing. In addition, various modifications are possible.

    [0021] The tunneling layer 20 may be formed on the back surface of the semiconductor substrate 10. The tunneling layer 20 acts as a kind of a barrier to electron and hole. Thus, minority carrier cannot pass through the tunneling layer 20. Meanwhile, majority carrier is accumulated at a portion adjacent to the tunneling layer 20, and then, the majority carrier having the predetermined energy passes through the tunneling layer 20. In this instance, the majority carrier having the predetermined energy can easily and smoothly pass through the tunneling layer 20 by a tunneling effect. Also, the tunneling layer 20 also acts as a diffusion barrier for preventing the dopant of the conductive type regions 32 and 34 from diffusing into the semiconductor substrate 10. The tunneling layer 20 may include various materials enabling majority carriers to tunnel therethrough, e.g., an oxide, a nitride, a semiconductor, a conductive polymer, or the like. For example, the tunneling layer 20 may include a silicon oxide, a silicon nitride, a silicon oxynitride, an intrinsic amorphous silicon, an intrinsic poly-crystalline silicon, or the like. Particularly, the tunneling layer 20 may be formed of a silicon oxide layer including a silicon oxide. The silicon oxide layer has an enhanced passivation property and the carrier can easily pass through the silicon oxide layer by the tunneling effect.

    [0022] The tunneling layer 20 may be formed over the entire back surface of the semiconductor substrate 10. Accordingly, the tunneling layer 20 can be easily formed without separate patterning.

    [0023] To have sufficient tunneling effects, the tunneling layer 20 may have a thickness T1 that is smaller than that of the insulating layer 40. For example, the thickness T1 of the tunneling layer 20 may be about 1.8 nm or less, for example, about 0.1 nm to about 1.5 nm (more particularly, about 0.5 nm to about 1.2 nm). When the thickness T1 of the tunneling layer 20 exceeds about 1. 8 nm, tunneling does not smoothly occur and thus the efficiency of the solar cell 100 may decrease. On the other hand, when the thickness T1 of the tunneling layer 20 is less than about 0.1 nm, it may be difficult to form the tunneling layer 20 with desired quality. To further improve the tunneling effects, the thickness T1 of the tunneling layer 20 may be about 0.1 nm to about 1.5 nm (more particularly, about 0.5 nm to about 1.2 nm) . In the embodiment, the buffer layer 22 having the buffer portion 22c acting as the barrier is disposed on the tunneling layer 20. Thus, although the thickness T1 of the tunneling layer 20 is relatively small compared with the conventional tunneling layer, the tunneling at undesirable positions can be effectively prevented by the buffer layer 22 or the buffer portion 22c. However, the embodiment of the invention is not limited to the above examples and the thickness T1 of the tunneling layer 20 may have various values.

    [0024] In the embodiment, the buffer layer 22 including the buffer portion 22c is disposed on the tunneling layer 20, the conductive type regions 32 and 34 are formed at and/or formed on the buffer layer 22, which is disposed on the tunneling layer 20. Hereinafter, the conductive type regions 32 and 34 will be described, and then, the buffer layer 22 will be described in detail.

    [0025] The conductive type regions 32 and 34 may include the first conductive type region 32 including the first conductive type dopant thus having the first conductive type and the second conductive type region 34 including the second conductive type dopant thus having the second conductive type. The first conductive type region 32 and the second conductive type region 34 are positioned on the same plane on the tunneling layer 20. In addition, the barrier region 36 is disposed between the first and second conductive type regions 32 and 34 so that the barrier region 36, and the first and second conductive type regions 32 and 34 are positioned on the same plane. That is, at least a part of side surfaces of the first conductive type region 32, the barrier region 36, and the second conductive type region 34 may be adjacent to (or in a contact with) each other.

    [0026] The first conductive type region 32 forms a pn junction (or pn tunnel junction) with the base region 110 while disposing the tunneling layer 20 therebetween. Thus, the first conductive type region 32 constitutes an emitter region that generates carriers by photoelectric conversion. Also, the second conductive type region 34 forms a back surface field region that forms a back surface field and thus prevents loss of carriers by recombination at a surface (more particularly, the back surface) of the semiconductor substrate 10. Also, the barrier region 36 separates the first conductive type region 32 from the second conductive type region 34. When the first and second conductive type regions 32 and 34 contact each other, shunting may occur and, accordingly, performance of the solar cell 100 may be deteriorated. Thus, in the embodiment of the invention, the barrier region 36 may be disposed between the first and second conductive type regions 32 and 34 to prevent unnecessary occurrence of shunting.

    [0027] In the embodiment, the first conductive type region 32 may include a first portion 22a having the first conductive type and formed at the buffer layer 22, and a first doping portion 30a having the first conductive type and disposed on the first portion 22a of the buffer layer 22. The first portion 22a may be a portion formed by a diffusion of the dopant in the first doping portion 30a during a heat-treating at the forming process of the first doping portion 30a or during a heat-treating after the forming process the first doping portion 30a. Accordingly, the first portion 22a and the first doping portion 30a have corresponding or the same shapes at the same positions to be entirely overlapped with each other in a plan view. When the first doping portion 30a is formed by the doping as in the above and the first portion 22a is formed by the diffusion during the doping or after the doping, the first conductive type dopant of the first portion 22a and the first conductive type dopant of the first doping portion 30a are the same material, and a doping concentration of the first portion 22a may be the same as or smaller than a doping concentration of the first doping portion 30a. Particularly, the doping concentration of the first portion 22a may be smaller than the doping concentration of the first doping portion 30a.

    [0028] The first conductive type dopant of the first conductive type region 32 may be any dopant having a conductive type opposite the base region 110. That is, when the first conductive type is a p-type, the first conductive type dopant may be a Group III element such as B, Al, Ga, In, or the like. When the first conductive type is an n-type, the first conductive type dopant may be a Group V element such as P, As, Bi, Sb, or the like.

    [0029] In the embodiment, the second conductive type region 32 may include a second portion 22b having the second conductive type and formed at the buffer layer 22, and a second doping portion 30b having the second conductive type and disposed on the second portion 22b of the buffer layer 22. The second portion 22b may be a portion formed by a diffusion of the dopant in the second doping portion 30b during a heat-treating at the forming process of the second doping portion 30b or during a heat-treating after the forming process the second doping portion 30b. Accordingly, the second portion 22b and the second doping portion 30b have corresponding or the same shapes at the same positions to be entirely overlapped with each other in a plan view. When the second doping portion 30b is formed by the doping as in the above and the second portion 22b is formed by the diffusion during the doping or after the doping, the second conductive type dopant of the second portion 22b and the second conductive type dopant of the second doping portion 30b are the same material, and a doping concentration of the second portion 22b may be the same as or smaller than a doping concentration of the second doping portion 30b. Particularly, the doping concentration of the second portion 22b may be smaller than the doping concentration of the second doping portion 30b.

    [0030] The second conductive type dopant of the second conductive type region 34 may be any dopant having the same conductive type as that of the base region 110. That is, when the second conductive type is of an n-type, the second conductive type dopant may be a Group V element such as P, As, Bi, Sb, or the like. When the second conductive type is of a p-type, the second conductive type dopant may be a Group III element such as B, Al, Ga, In, or the like.

    [0031] In the embodiment, the barrier region 36 may include the buffer portion 22c formed at the buffer layer 22 between the first portion 22a and the second portion 22b and the barrier portion 30c between the first doping portion 30a and the second doping portion 30b at the semiconductor layer 30. The buffer portion 22c or the barrier portion 30c may include an intrinsic material or an undoped material that does not substantially include the first and second conductive type dopants. However, the invention is not limited thereto. One or more of various materials are used for the barrier portion 30c. This will be described in more detail later.

    [0032] Hereinafter, the buffer portion 22c, and the first and second portions 22a and 22b of the buffer layer 22 will be described in detail, and then, the barrier portion 30c, and the first and second doping portions 30a and 30b of the semiconductor layer 30 will be described in detail.

    [0033] The buffer layer 22 (more particularly, the buffer portion 22c) is positioned between the first conductive type region 32 and the second conductive type region 34 on the tunneling layer 20. The buffer layer 22 prevents the recombination of the electron and the hole between the first conductive type region 32 and the second conductive type region 34. This will be described in more detail.

    [0034] The tunneling probability is deeply related to the thickness of the tunneling layer 20. Thus, when the thickness of the tunneling layer 20 is larger than a particular value (for example, larger than 2 nm), the tunneling probability may go down to nearly zero (0). Therefore, in order to secure a high tunneling probability, the tunneling layer 20 should be thin. However, when the tunneling layer 20 is thin, carriers can be transferred to the barrier region 36 by tunneling. Although the mobility of the carriers is small because the barrier region 36 is intrinsic, a small amount of flowing carriers at the barrier region 36 may occur because the barrier region 36 includes a semiconductor material. Particularly, since an electron has large mobility, an electron reaching the barrier region 36 may be transferred to one of the conductive type regions 32 and 34 where holes are the majority carriers (that is, one of the conductive type regions 32 and 34 having the p-type). Then, recombination may occur at the boundary or interface between the barrier region 36 and the one of the conductive type regions 32 and 34 having the p-type.

    [0035] Considering the above, in the embodiment, the buffer portion 22c formed of a semi-insulating material is additionally disposed on the tunneling layer 20 at a portion corresponding to the barrier region 36 or the barrier portion 30c. Thus, tunneling to the barrier region 36 can be prevented. In order to effectively prevent tunneling to the barrier region 36 (particularly, the barrier portion 30c), the buffer layer 22 including the buffer portion 22c may have a crystalline structure, a material, and/or a composition different from a crystalline structure, a material, and/or a composition of the tunneling layer 20. Also, the buffer layer 22 has an insulating property lower than that of the tunneling layer 20. As described in the above, a part of the buffer layer 22 acts as a part of the conductive type regions 32 and 34 by virtue of the dopant. Thus, if the buffer layer 22 has an insulating property only, tunneling to the first and second conductive type regions 32 and 34 or the first and second doping portions 30a and 30b may be prevented. Therefore, the buffer layer 22 may include a semi-insulating material so that the buffer portion 22c can prevent tunneling of carriers to the barrier portion 30c while the first and second portions 22a and 22b can act as part of the first and second conductive type regions 32 and 34 by way of their doping.

    [0036] For reference, the semi-insulating material has sufficient insulating property when not doped. When the semi-insulating material is doped, carrier tunneling or carrier transfer occurs and the doped portion of the semi-insulating material may act as part of the first and second conductive type regions 32 and 34.

    [0037] For example, the buffer layer 22 may include or consist of a silicon oxide layer having poly-crystalline structure. When the buffer layer 22 includes or consists of the silicon oxide layer having poly-crystalline structure, a dopant can be easily implanted into the buffer layer 22, the thermal stability is high, and the buffer layer 22 can have energy band gap for easily inducing tunneling.

    [0038] When the tunneling layer 20 includes or consists of a silicon oxide layer, the crystalline structure and the composition of the buffer layer 22 are different from the crystalline structure and the composition of the tunneling layer 20, respectively. That is, the tunneling layer 20 may include an amorphous structure, while the buffer layer 22 may include a poly-crystalline structure, which is one of crystalline structures. Also, the oxygen amount and the silicon amount of the buffer layer 22 may be different from the oxygen amount and the silicon amount of the tunneling layer 20. More particularly, the oxygen amount of the buffer layer 22 may be smaller than the oxygen amount of the tunneling layer 20, and the silicon amount of the buffer layer 22 may be larger than the silicon amount of the tunneling layer 20. A dopant may be more easily coupled to the silicon than the oxygen. Thus, when the silicon amount is high and the oxygen amount is low, the amount of dopant coupled to the silicon increases, and thus, the amount of silicon-dopant bonds (for example, B-Si bond or P-Si bond) increases. Thus, a doped portion of the buffer layer 22 where the silicon amount is high and the oxygen amount is low may show conductivity, and thus, carriers can pass through the doped portion of the buffer layer 22 by tunneling.

    [0039] For example, the tunneling layer 20 may have a chemical formula that is the same as or similar to SiO2 (for example, SiOy, wherein y is in a range of about 1.9 to about 2.1), while the buffer layer 22 may have a chemical formula of SiOx (wherein x is in a range of about 0.2 to about 1.5). Or, the tunneling layer 20 has an oxygen amount of about 60 at% to about 70 at%, while the buffer layer 22 includes a portion having an oxygen amount of about 10 at% to about 45 at%. Particularly, a portion of the buffer layer 22 adjacent to the tunneling layer 20 may have an oxygen amount of about 10 at% to about 45 at%. That is, the tunneling layer 20 has a relatively high oxygen amount to sufficiently establish a tunneling barrier and to be chemically stable. The buffer layer 22 has a relatively low oxygen amount to easily form silicon-dopant bonds. More particularly, if x of the chemical formula of the buffer layer 22 is smaller than about 0.2 or the oxygen amount of the buffer layer 22 is smaller than 10 at%, the buffer portion 22c may not act as a tunneling barrier. Also, if x of the chemical formula of the buffer layer 22 is larger than about 1.5 or the oxygen amount of the buffer layer 22 is larger than 45 at%, doping to the buffer layer 22 may be not sufficient and a carrier flow to the first and second portions 22a and 22b may be not smooth. However, the invention is not limited thereto. The chemical formulae, the oxygen amounts, and so on of the tunneling layer 20 and the buffer layer 22 may be varied.

    [0040] In the above embodiment, each of the buffer layer 22 and the tunneling layer 20 includes a silicon oxide layer, wherein the composition and/or crystalline structure and/or properties of the silicon oxide layers of the buffer layer 22 and the tunneling layer 20 are different from each other. However, the invention is not limited thereto. The buffer layer 22 may include a material different from a material of the tunneling layer 20. Also, various modifications are possible.

    [0041] In the embodiment, a thickness T2 of the buffer layer 22 is larger than a thickness T1 of the tunneling layer 20. Since the thickness T1 of the tunneling layer 20 is deeply related to the tunneling probability as stated in the above, it is preferable that the tunneling layer 20 is thin. Also, the buffer layer 22 has a relatively large thickness in order to prevent the undesirable tunneling.

    [0042] For example, a ratio of the thickness T1 of the tunneling layer 20 to the thickness T2 of the buffer layer 22 is in a range of about 1:1.5 to about 1:10. When the ratio is smaller than 1:1.5, the effect of the buffer layer 22 for preventing the tunneling to the barrier region 36 may be not sufficient. When the ratio is larger than 1:10, the thickness of the solar cell 100 may be increased and the process time may be increased by the buffer layer 22, and the properties of the conductive type regions 32 and 34 may be deteriorated. That is, as described in the above, the first and second portions 22a and 22b act as parts of the first and second conductive type regions 32 and 34 by the dopants, respectively. If the first and second portions 22a and 22b having a relatively low doping concentration are thick, the properties of the conductive type regions 32 and 34 may be deteriorated.

    [0043] In certain embodiments, the thickness T2 of the buffer layer 22 may be about 10nm or less. When the thickness T2 of the buffer layer 22 exceeds 10nm, the thickness of the solar cell 100 may be increased and the process time may be increased by the buffer layer 22, and the properties of the conductive type regions 32 and 34 may be deteriorated. For example, the thickness T2 of the buffer layer 22 may be in a range of about 2nm to about 10nm. When the thickness T2 of the buffer layer 22 is smaller than about 2nm, the effect of the buffer layer 22 for preventing the tunneling to the barrier region 36 may be not sufficient. Considering the thickness of the solar cell 100, the process time, and the properties of the conductive type regions 32 and 34 more, the thickness T2 of the buffer layer 22 may be in a range of about 2nm to about 5nm. However, the invention is not limited thereto. The thickness of the buffer layer 22 may be varied.

    [0044] The above thickness T2 of the buffer layer 22 is based on the case that the buffer layer 22 is not doped by a separate doping, and the dopant in the semiconductor layer 30 is diffused into the buffer layer 22 by the diffusion. Therefore, when the buffer layer 22 is doped by a separate doping different from the semiconductor layer 30, there is no restriction to the thickness T2 of the buffer layer 22. Thus, in this case, the thickness T2 of the buffer layer 22 may have thickness larger than the above range, for example, the thickness of the buffer layer 22 may be about 300nm or less. Various modifications are possible.

    [0045] The buffer portion 22c of the buffer layer 22 has the material, the crystalline structure, the thickness, and the property of the buffer layer 22 described in the above, and does not include the first and second conductive type dopants. The first portion 22a of the buffer layer 22 has the material, the crystalline structure, the thickness, and the property of the buffer layer 22 described in the above, and includes the first conductive type dopant. The second portion 22b of the buffer layer 22 has the material, the crystalline structure, the thickness, and the property of the buffer layer 22 described in the above, and includes the second conductive type dopant. That is, the first portion 22a of the buffer layer 22 is the silicon oxide layer having the oxygen amount of about 10 at% to about 45 at%, having chemical formula of SiOx (wherein x is in a range of about 0.2 to about 1.5), and being doped with the first conductive type dopant. The second portion 22b of the buffer layer 22 is the silicon oxide layer having the oxygen amount of about 10 at% to about 45 at%, having chemical formula of SiOx (wherein x is in a range of about 0.2 to about 1.5), and being doped with the second conductive type dopant. Also, the buffer portion 22c is positioned between the first portion 22a and the second portion 22b to correspond to the barrier region 36 or the barrier portion 30c. The buffer portion 22c is the silicon oxide layer having the oxygen amount of about 10 at% to about 45 at%, having chemical formula of SiOx (wherein x is in a range of about 0.2 to about 1.5), and being an undoped or intrinsic region.

    [0046] Particularly, as stated in the above, the dopant exists in a state that the dopant is bond to the semiconductor material (that is, silicon) of the semi-insulating material constituting the buffer layer 22 at the first and second portions 22a and 22b. That is, the silicon-dopant bond exists in the first and second portions 22a and 22b of the buffer layer 22. For example, when boron (B) is used for the p-type dopant at the first portion 22a, silicon-boron bonds (Si-B bonds) exist in the first portion 22a. For example, when phosphorus (P) is used for the n-type dopant at the second portion 22b, silicon-phosphorus bonds (Si-P bonds) exist in the second portion 22b. That is, the first and second conductive type dopants exist in the activated state (that is, the first and second conductive type dopants bonded or coupled to the semiconductor material (that is, silicon) of the buffer layer 22). Thus, the first and second portions 22a and 22b can act as parts of the conductive type regions 32 and 34, respectively. The silicon-dopant bonds may be detected by various methods, such as a secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS).

    [0047] The semiconductor layer 30 is disposed on the buffer layer 22. The semiconductor layer 30 may include a first doping portion 30a constituting a part of the first conductive type region 32, a second doping portion 30b constituting a part of the second conductive type region 34, and the barrier portion 30c being intrinsic and positioned between the first doping portion 30a and the second doping portion 30b.

    [0048] The first doping portion 30a on the first portion 22a may include a semiconductor (e.g., silicon) including the first conductive type dopant opposite the base region 110. In the embodiment of the invention, the first doping portion 30a is formed separately from the semiconductor substrate 10, on the semiconductor substrate 10 (more particularly, on the first portion 22a disposed on the tunneling layer 20). The first doping portion 30a may be formed of a semiconductor layer doped with the first conductive type dopant. Thus, the first doping portion 30a may be formed of a semiconductor layer having a different crystal structure from the semiconductor substrate 10 so as to be easily formed on the semiconductor substrate 10. For example, the first doping portion 30a may be formed by doping an amorphous semiconductor, a micro-crystalline semiconductor or a polycrystalline semiconductor (e.g., amorphous silicon, micro-crystalline silicon, or polycrystalline silicon) that may be easily manufactured by various methods such as deposition and the like, with the first conductive type dopant. The first conductive type dopant may be included in the semiconductor layer when forming the semiconductor layer 30 or may be included in the semiconductor layer 30 by various doping methods such as thermal diffusion, ion implantation, and the like after forming the semiconductor layer 30.

    [0049] The second doping portion 30b on the second portion 22b may include a semiconductor (e.g., silicon) including the first conductive type dopant the same as the base region 110. In the embodiment of the invention, the second doping portion 30b is formed separately from the semiconductor substrate 10, on the semiconductor substrate 10 (more particularly, on the second portion 22b disposed on the tunneling layer 20). The second doping portion 30b may be formed of a semiconductor layer doped with the second conductive type dopant. Thus, the second doping portion 30b may be formed of a semiconductor layer having a different crystal structure from the semiconductor substrate 10 so as to be easily formed on the semiconductor substrate 10. For example, the second doping portion 30b may be formed by doping an amorphous semiconductor, a micro-crystalline semiconductor or a polycrystalline semiconductor (e.g., amorphous silicon, micro-crystalline silicon, or polycrystalline silicon) that may be easily manufactured by various methods such as deposition and the like, with the second conductive type dopant. The second conductive type dopant may be included in the semiconductor layer when forming the semiconductor layer 30 or may be included in the semiconductor layer 30 by various doping methods such as thermal diffusion, ion implantation, and the like after forming the semiconductor layer 30.

    [0050] The barrier portion 30c may include one or more of various materials enabling the first and second doping portions 30a and 30b to be substantially insulated from each other. That is, the barrier portion 30c may be formed of an undoped insulating material (e.g., an oxide or a nitride) . In another embodiment of the invention, the barrier portion 30c may include an intrinsic semiconductor. In this regard, the first and second doping portions 30a and 30b and the barrier portion 30c are formed on the same plane, have substantially the same thickness, are formed of the same semiconductor (e.g., amorphous silicon, micro-crystalline silicon, or polycrystalline silicon), and the barrier portion 30c may not include a dopant. For example, a semiconductor layer 30 including a semiconductor material may be formed, a region of the semiconductor layer 30 is doped with a first conductive type dopant to form the first conductive type region 32, another region thereof is doped with a second conductive type dopant to form the second conductive type region 34, and the barrier portion 30c may be formed in a region of the semiconductor layer 30 in which the first and second doping portions 30a and 30b are not formed. According to the embodiment of the invention, a manufacturing method of the first and second doping portions 30a and 30b and the barrier portion 30c may be simplified.

    [0051] However, the embodiment of the invention is not limited to the above examples. That is, when the barrier portion 30c is formed separately from the first and second doping portions 30a and 30b, the barrier portion 30c may have a thickness different from each of thicknesses of the first and second doping portions 30a and 30b. For example, to more effectively prevent short circuit between the first and second doping portions 30a and 30b, the thickness of the barrier portion 30c may be greater than each of thicknesses of the first and second doping portions 30a and 30b. In another embodiment of the invention, to reduce raw material costs for forming the barrier portion 30c, the thickness of the barrier portion 30c may be less than each of thicknesses of the first and second doping portions 30a and 30b. In addition, various modifications are possible. In addition, a base material of the barrier portion 30c may be different from those of the first and second doping portions 30a and 30b. For example, the barrier portion 30c may be formed of an undoped insulating material (for example, an oxide, a nitride, and so on) . In another embodiment of the invention, the barrier portion 30c may be formed as an empty space (e.g., a trench) disposed between the first and second doping portions 30a and 30b.

    [0052] In addition, the barrier portion 30c may be formed so as to partially separate the first and second doping portions 30a and 30b at an interface therebetween from each other. Thus, some portions of the interface between the first and second doping portions 30a and 30b may be separated from each other by the barrier portion 30c, while the other portion of the interface between the first and second doping portions 30a and 30b may contact each other. In this instance, some portions of the interface between the first and second conductive type regions 32 and 34 (or the first and second portions 22a and 22b) may be separated from each other by the barrier region 36 (or the buffer portion 22c), while the other portion of the interface between the first and second conductive regions 32 and 34 (or the first and second portion 22a and 22b) may contact each other. In addition, the barrier portion 30c may not be necessarily formed, and the first and second doping portions 30a and 30b may entirely contact each other. In this instance, the first conductive type region 32 (or the first portion 22a) and the second conductive type region 34 (or the second portion 22b) may entirely contact each other. In addition, various modifications are possible.

    [0053] In the embodiment of the invention, an instance in which the first and second conductive type regions 32 and 34 are disposed on the back surface of the semiconductor substrate 10 while interposing the tunneling layer 20 between the first and second conductive type regions 32 and 34 and the semiconductor substrate 10 has been described by way of example. However, the embodiment of the invention is not limited to the above example. In another embodiment of the invention, at least one of the first and second conductive type regions 32 and 34 may include a doping region formed by doping the semiconductor substrate 10 with dopants. That is, at least one of the first and second conductive type regions 32 and 34 may include a doping region having a single-crystalline semiconductor structure constituting a part of the semiconductor substrate 10. Also, the conductive type regions 32 and 34 may be formed by the other various methods.

    [0054] In the embodiment, the second conductive type region 34 having the same conductive type as that of the base region 110 may have a narrower area than that of the first conductive type region 32 having a different conductive type than that of the base region 110. Thus, a pn junction formed between the base region 110 and the first conductive type region 32 via the tunneling layer 20 may have a wider area. In this regard, when the base region 110 and the second conductive type region 34 are of the n-types and the first conductive type region 32 is of the p-type, the first conductive type region 32 having a wide area may effectively collect holes having a relatively slow movement rate. The planar structure of the first and second conductive type regions 32 and 34 and the barrier region 36 will be described below in further detail with reference to FIG. 2.

    [0055] An insulating layer 40 may be formed on the first and second conductive type regions 32 and 34 and the barrier region 36. The insulating layer 40 includes a first opening (or first openings) 402 for connecting the first conductive type region 32 and the first electrode 42 and a second opening (or second openings) 404 for connecting the second conductive type region 34 and the second electrode 44. Accordingly, the insulating layer 40 may prevent electrodes to which the first and second conductive type regions 32 and 34 must not be connected (i.e., the second electrode 44 for the first conductive type region 32 and the first electrode 42 for the second conductive type region 34) from being connected to each other. Also, the insulating layer 40 may passivate the first and second conductive type regions 32 and 34 and/or barrier region 36.

    [0056] The insulating layer 40 may be disposed on (for example, may be in contact with) the semiconductor layer 30 at a portion where the electrodes 42 and 44 are not positioned. The insulating layer 40 may be thicker than the tunneling layer 20. Then, the insulating property and the passivation property of the insulating layer 40 can be enhanced. However, the invention is not limited thereto, and thus, various modifications are possible.

    [0057] For example, the insulating layer 40 may include various insulating materials (for example, an oxide, a nitride, and so on) . For example, the insulating layer 40 m ay be any one film selected from the group consisting of a silicon nitride film, a hydrogen-containing silicon nitride film, a silicon oxide film, a silicon oxynitride film, an aluminum oxide film, a MgF2 film, a ZnS film, a TiO2 film, and a CeO2 film or have a multilayer structure including two or more of the above-listed films in combination. However, the embodiment is not limited thereto, and thus, the insulating layer 40 may include one or more of various materials.

    [0058] The electrodes 42 and 44 disposed on the back surface of the semiconductor substrate 10 include the first electrode 42 electrically and physically connected to the first conductive type region 32 and the second electrode 44 electrically and physically connected to the second conductive type region 34.

    [0059] In the embodiment, the first electrode 42 is connected to the first conductive type region 32 through penetrating of the first opening 402 of the insulating layer 40. The second electrode 44 is connected to the second conductive type region 34 through penetrating of the second opening 404 of the insulating layer 40. The first and second electrodes 42 and 44 may include various metal materials. In addition, the first and second electrodes 42 and 44 are not electrically connected to each other but are respectively connected to the first conductive type region 32 and the second conductive type region 34, and may have various planar shapes enabling collection of carriers generated and transfer of the collected carriers to the outside. However, the shapes of the first and second electrodes 42 and 44 are not limited to the above example.

    [0060] Hereafter, planar shapes of the first and second conductive type regions 32 and 34, the barrier region 36, and the first and second electrodes 42 and 44 will be described in detail with reference to FIG. 2.

    [0061] Referring to FIG. 2, in the embodiment of the invention, the first and second conductive type regions 32 and 34 are extended so as to have a stripe shape and alternately disposed with respect to each other in a direction crossing a longitudinal direction. The barrier region 36 may be disposed to separate the first conductive type region 32 from the second conductive type region 34. Plural first conductive type regions 32 separated from each other may be connected to each other at an edge of a first side thereof, and plural second conductive type regions 34 separated from each other may be connected to each other at an edge of a second side thereof. However, the embodiment of the invention is not limited to the above examples.

    [0062] In this regard, the first conductive type region 32 may have a wider area than the second conductive type region 34. For example, the areas of the first and second conductive type regions 32 and 34 may be adjusted by differently adjusting widths thereof. That is, a width W1 of the first conductive type region 32 may be greater than a width W2 of the second conductive type region 34. Thereby, the first conductive type region 32 constituting the emitter region has a wide area, and thus, a photoelectric conversion area may be increased. In this regard, when the first conductive type region 32 is the p-type, the first conductive type region 32 having a wide area may effectively collect holes having a relatively slow movement rate.

    [0063] In addition, the first electrode 42 may be formed so as to have a stripe shape to correspond to the first conductive type region 32, and the second electrode 44 may be formed so as to have a stripe shape to correspond to the second conductive type region 34. The first and second openings 402 and 404 may be formed to respectively correspond to total lengths (or areas) of the first and second electrodes 42 and 44. Thus, a contact area between the first electrode 42 and the first conductive type region 32 and a contact area between the second electrode 44 and the second conductive type region 34 are maximized and, accordingly, carrier collection efficiency may be enhanced. However, the embodiment of the invention is not limited to the above examples. In addition, the first and second openings 402 and 404 may also be formed so as to respectively connect only portions of the first and second electrodes 42 and 44 to the first and second conductive type regions 32 and 34. For example, the first and second openings 402 and 404 may be formed as a plurality of contact holes. The first electrodes 42 may be connected to each other at an edge of a first side thereof, and the second electrodes 44 may be connected to each other at an edge of a second side thereof. However, the embodiment of the invention is not limited to the above examples.

    [0064] Referring back to FIG. 1, the passivation layer 24 may be disposed on the semiconductor substrate 10, and the anti-reflection layer 26 may be formed on the passivation layer 24. The passivation layer 24 and the anti-reflective layer 26 may be substantially entirely formed on the front surface of the semiconductor substrate 10. In this regard, the expression "entirely formed" as used herein includes an instance in which the passivation layer 24 and the anti-reflective layer 26 are physically completely formed and an instance in which the passivation layer 24 and the anti-reflective layer 26 are incompletely formed by an unavoidable reason.

    [0065] The passivation layer 24 is formed on the front surface of the semiconductor substrate 10 in contact therewith and thus inactivates defects present in the front surface or bulk of the semiconductor substrate 10. Thus, recombination sites of minority carriers are removed and, accordingly, an open circuit voltage Voc of the solar cell 100 may be increased. Also, by the anti-reflection layer 26, the amount of light reaching a pn-junction formed at an interface between the base region 110 and the first conductive type region 32 may be increased by reducing the reflectance of light incident upon the front surface of the semiconductor substrate 10. Accordingly, a short-circuit current Isc of the solar cell 100 can be increased. As such, the open circuit voltage and the short-circuit current Isc of the solar cell 100 can be increased by the passivation layer 24 and the anti-reflective layer 26 and, accordingly, the efficiency of the solar cell 100 can be enhanced.

    [0066] The passivation layer 24 or the anti-reflective layer 26 may be formed of one or more of various materials. For example, the passivation layer 24 or the anti-reflection layer 26 may be any one layer selected from the group consisting of a silicon nitride layer, a hydrogen-containing silicon nitride layer, a silicon oxide layer, a silicon oxynitride layer, an aluminum oxide layer, a MgF2 layer, a ZnS layer, a TiO2 layer, and a CeO2 layer or have a multilayer structure including two or more of the above-listed layers in combination. For example, the passivation layer 24 may include silicon oxide, and the anti-reflective layer 26 may include silicon nitride. However, the embodiment of the invention is not limited to the above examples. Therefore, the passivation layer 24 and the anti-reflective layer 26 may have various material or various structures. Also, the anti-reflection layer 26 may contact with the semiconductor substrate 10, and the other modifications are possible.

    [0067] When light is incident upon the solar cell 100 according to the embodiment of the invention, electrons and holes are generated by photoelectric conversion at the pn junction formed between the base region 110 and the first conductive type region 32, and the generated holes and electrons tunnel by tunneling through the tunneling layer 20, respectively move to the first and second conductive type regions 32 and 34 and then respectively migrate to the first and second electrodes 42 and 44. Electric energy is generated thereby.

    [0068] As in the embodiment of the invention, in the solar cell 100 having a back contact structure in which the first and second electrodes 42 and 44 are formed on the back surface of the semiconductor substrate 10 and not formed on the front surface of the semiconductor substrate 10, shading loss at the front surface of the semiconductor substrate 10 can be minimized. Accordingly, efficiency of the solar cell 100 can be enhanced. However, the embodiment of the invention is not limited to the above examples. For example, at least one of the first and the second conductive type regions 32 and 34 and the first and second electrodes 42 and 44 connected thereto may be disposed on the front surface of the semiconductor substrate 10. Various modifications are possible.

    [0069] Also, the first and second conductive type regions 32 and 34 are formed on the semiconductor substrate 10 while interposing the tunneling layer 20 therebetween. The first and second conductive type regions 32 and 34 are separate layers from the semiconductor substrate 10. Accordingly, the loss due to the recombination can be minimized, compared with the case that the doping portion formed by doping the dopants to the semiconductor substrate 10 is used for the conductive type region.

    [0070] Further, the buffer layer 22 being a separate layer from the tunneling layer 20 and including the buffer portion 22c is disposed on the tunneling layer 20. Thus, the tunneling through the tunneling layer 20 at the undesirable portion can be prevented. Also, the buffer layer 22 is formed of a material being able to form silicon-dopant bond, and therefore, the part of the buffer layer 22 constitutes at least a part of the conductive type regions 32 and 34. Accordingly, the tunneling to a portion of the buffer layer 22 except for the buffer portion 22c can be smooth and active. That is, the undesirable recombination of the electron and the hole can be prevented, and the tunneling of the carrier for the photoelectric conversion can be smooth and active. As a result, efficiency of the solar cell 100 can be enhanced.

    [0071] In the above structure, the first and second portions 22a and 22b and the buffer portion 22c of the buffer layer 22 are aligned with the first and second doping portion 30a and 30b of the conductive type regions 32 and 34 and the barrier portion 30c, respectively. That is, the side surfaces of the first and second portions 22a and 22b and the buffer portion 22c of the buffer layer 22 are in the same plane with the side surfaces of the first and second doping portion 30a and 30b of the conductive type regions 32 and 34 and the barrier portion 30c, respectively. However, the invention is not limited thereto. By separately forming the first and second portions 22a and 22b from the first and second doping portions 30a and 30b, the positions of the first and second portions 22a and 22b and the positions of the first and second doping portions 30a and 30b may be different. For example, at least one of the side surfaces of the first and second portions 22a and 22b and the buffer portion 22c of the buffer layer 22 are not aligned with or are deviated from the corresponding side surfaces of the first and second doping portion 30a and 30b of the conductive type regions 32 and 34 and the barrier portion 30c. Various modifications are possible.

    [0072] Hereinafter, a method for manufacturing the solar cell 100 having the above structure will be described in detail with reference to FIGs. 3a to 3h. FIGs. 3a to 3h are sectional views illustrating a method for manufacturing a solar cell according to an embodiment of the invention.

    [0073] First, as shown in FIG. 3a, a semiconductor substrate 10 including a base region 110 having a second conductive type dopant is prepared. In the embodiment of the invention, the semiconductor substrate 10 may be a silicon substrate (for example, a silicon wafer) having an n-type dopant. Examples of the n-type dopant include, but are not limited to, Group V elements such as phosphorous (P), arsenic (As), bismuth (Bi) and antimony (Sb). However, the embodiment is not limited there to, the base region 110 may have a p-type dopant.

    [0074] At least one of the front and back surfaces of the semiconductor substrate 10 is textured so that the surface is an uneven surface (or have protruded portions and/or depressed portions). A wet or dry texturing method may be used as the texturing of the surface of the semiconductor substrate 10. A wet texturing may be carried out by dipping the semiconductor substrate 10 in a texturing solution and has an advantage of a short process time. A dry texturing is a process of cutting the surface of the semiconductor substrate 10 using a diamond drill, laser or the like and enables formation of uniform protruded portions and/or depressed portions, but disadvantageously has long process time and causes damage to the semiconductor substrate 10. Alternatively, the semiconductor substrate 10 may be textured by reactive ion etching (RIE) or the like. As such, the semiconductor substrate 10 may be textured by a variety of methods.

    [0075] For example, the front surface of the semiconductor substrate 10 may be textured to have the protruded portions and/or depressed portions or to be uneven surface. Meanwhile, the back surface of the semiconductor substrate 10 may be a relatively smooth and even surface formed by mirror polishing or the like and having a lower surface roughness than the front surface of the semiconductor substrate 10. However, the embodiment is not limited thereto, and thus, the semiconductor substrate 10 having various structures may be used.

    [0076] Next, as shown in FIG. 3b, a tunneling layer 20 is formed on the back surface of the semiconductor substrate 10. The tunneling layer 20 may be entirely formed on the back surface of the semiconductor substrate 10.

    [0077] In this instance, the tunneling layer 20 may be formed, for example, by a method such as thermal growth or deposition (for example, plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD), atomic layer deposition (ALD)) or the like. Particularly, the tunneling layer 20 may be an amorphous silicon oxide layer having an amorphous structure formed by the chemical vapor deposition. However, the embodiment of the invention is not limited thereto and the tunneling layer 20 may be formed by a variety of methods.

    [0078] Next, as shown in FIG. 3c, the buffer layer 22 is formed on the tunneling layer 20. The buffer layer 22 is entirely formed on the back surface of the semiconductor substrate 10, on the tunneling layer 20.

    [0079] The buffer layer 22 may be formed by one or more of various methods. For example, the buffer layer 22 may be formed by an atmospheric pressure chemical vapor disposition (APCVD) method, a low pressure chemical vapor deposition (LPCVD) method, and so on. Particularly, the buffer layer 22 may be formed by the LPCVD method so that the buffer layer 22 including the silicon oxide layer can have a desirable composition and a poly-crystalline structure. The crystalline property of the buffer layer 22 is affected from pressure. Thus, the LPCVD method is suitable for forming the buffer layer 22 having superior crystalline property. However, the invention is not limited thereto.

    [0080] Various materials may be used as source gases for forming the buffer layer 22 including the silicon oxide layer. For example, the source gases may be nitric oxide (for example, N2O) and silane (SiH4). The ratio of nitric oxide to silane may be about 1:0.01 to 1:0.35. By the materials and the ratio, the buffer layer 22 having a desirable composition can be stably formed. However, the invention is not limited thereto, and thus, various source gases may be used.

    [0081] The temperature for forming the buffer layer 22 may be about 600°C to about 1000°C (more particularly, about 600°C to about 675°C). When the temperature is smaller than about 600°C , the silicon oxide layer may have an amorphous structure. When the temperature is larger than about 1000°C , a part of the silicon oxide layer may have a single crystalline structure. In order to maximize properties of the poly-crystalline structure, the temperature for forming the buffer layer 22 may be about 600 °C to about 675°C. However, the invention is not limited, and thus, the temperature for forming the buffer layer 22 may be varied.

    [0082] In this instance, the buffer layer 22 is not doped, and thus, the buffer layer 22 in this stage may be formed of or consists of the buffer portion 22c only.

    [0083] In the embodiment, it is exemplified that the buffer layer 22 includes the silicon oxide layer, but the invention is not limited thereto. Thus, the buffer layer 22 may have a material, a composition, and a crystalline structure different from those described in the above.

    [0084] Then, as shown in FIGs. 3d and 3e, a first conductive type region 32 and a second conductive type region 34 are formed on the tunneling layer 20. This will be described in more detail.

    [0085] As shown in FIG. 3d, a semiconductor layer 300 being intrinsic is formed on the tunneling layer 20 (more particularly, on the buffer layer 22). The semiconductor layer 300 may be formed of an amorphous, microcrystalline, or polycrystalline semiconductor. In this instance, the semiconductor layer 300 may be formed by a method, for example, thermal growth, deposition (for example, plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition chemical (PECVD)) or the like. However, the embodiment is not limited thereto, the semiconductor layer 300 may be formed by various methods.

    [0086] Next, as shown in FIG. 3e, first conductive type regions 32, second conductive type regions 34, and barrier areas 36 are formed by doping dopants.

    [0087] For example, a region of the semiconductor layer 30 is doped with a first conductive type dopant to form the first doping portion 30a by various methods such as an ion implantation method, a thermal diffusion method, or a laser doping method, and another region thereof is doped with a second conductive type dopant to form the second doping portion 30b by various methods such as an ion implantation method, a thermal diffusion method, or a laser doping method. Then, the barrier portion 30c may be formed in a region of the semiconductor layer 30 between the first and second doping portions 30a and 30b.

    [0088] Also, the first conductive type dopant in the first doping portion 30a is diffused into the buffer layer 22 during the heat-treating for the activation performed after the ion-implantation method or during the heat-treating performed at the thermal diffusion method or the laser doping method, and thus, the first portion 22a is formed. Similarly, the second conductive type dopant in the second doping portion 30b is diffused into the buffer layer 22 during the heat-treating for the activation performed after the ion-implantation method or during the heat-treating performed at the thermal diffusion method or the laser doping method, and thus, the second portion 22b is formed. The first and second conductive type dopants are not diffused to a portion of the barrier layer 22 corresponding to the barrier portion 30c, and thus, the portion of the barrier layer 22 constitutes the buffer portion 22c to correspond to the barrier portion 30c.

    [0089] Thereby, the first conductive type region 32 including the first portion 22a and the first doping portion 30a, the second conductive type region 34 including the second portion 22b and the second doping portion 30b, and the barrier region 36 including the buffer portion 22c and the barrier portion 30c are formed.

    [0090] In the embodiment, it is exemplified that the first and second portions 22a and 22b of the buffer layer 22 are formed by the diffusion of the dopants at the doping process of the first and second doping portions 30a and 30b or the follow-up heat treating. Then, the process can be simplified. However, the invention is not limited thereto, and various modifications are possible. For example, the first and second portions 22a and 22b may be formed by a separate doping process . In addition, various methods may be used for a method for forming the conductive type regions 32 and 34, and barrier region 36. That is, various modifications are possible.

    [0091] Next, as shown in FIG. 3f, a front surface field region 130 may be formed by doping the second conductive type dopant to the front surface of the semiconductor substrate 10. The front surface field region 130 may be formed by various methods, such as an ion implantation method, a thermal diffusion method, or a laser doping method. Also, the front surface field region 130 may be not formed.

    [0092] Next, as shown in FIG. 3g, a passivation layer 24 and an anti-reflective layer 26 are sequentially formed on the front surface of the semiconductor substrate 10, and an insulating layer 40 are formed on the rear surface of the semiconductor substrate 10. That is, the passivation layer 24 and the anti-reflective layer 26 are formed over the entire portion of the front surface of the semiconductor substrate 10, and the insulating layer 40 are formed over the entire portion of the rear surface of the semiconductor substrate 10. The passivation layer 24, the anti-reflective layer 26, and the insulating layer 40 may be formed by a variety of methods such as vacuum deposition, chemical vapor deposition, spin coating, screen printing or spray coating. A formation order of the passivation layer 24 and the anti-reflective layer 26, and the insulating layer 40 may be varied.

    [0093] Next, as shown in FIG. 3g, the first and second electrodes 42 and 44 electrically connected respectively to the first and second conductive type regions 32 and 34 are formed.

    [0094] In an embodiment, first and second openings 402 and 404 are formed in the insulating layer 40, and the first and second electrodes 42 and 44 may be formed in the first and second openings 402 and 404 by various methods such as plating, deposition, or the like. In another embodiment, the first and second electrodes 42 and 44 having the above-described shapes may be formed by respectively applying pastes for forming first and second electrodes on the insulating layer 40 by screen-printing or the like and performing fire through, laser firing contact, or the like thereon. In this case, the first and second openings 402 and 404 are formed when the first and second electrodes 42 and 44 are formed, and thus, a separate process of forming the first and second openings 402 and 404 need not be performed.

    [0095] According to the embodiment of the invention, the buffer layer 22 including the buffer portion 22c, and the first and second portions 22a and 22b can be formed by a simple process. Accordingly, productivity of the solar cell 100 having enhanced efficiency can be improved.

    [0096] Hereinafter, other solar cells and methods for manufacturing them will be described in detail. A detailed description of the same or almost the same elements as those in the foregoing description will be omitted herein and detailed descriptions of only different elements will be provided herein.

    [0097] FIG. 4 is a sectional view of an example of a solar cell not covered by this invention.

    [0098] Referring to FIG. 4, in this example, a first portion 22a of a buffer layer 22 entirely constitutes a first conductive type region 32, a second portion 22b of the buffer layer 22 entirely constitutes a second conductive type region 34, and a buffer portion 22c of the buffer layer 22 entirely constitutes a barrier region 36. That is, the first conductive type region 32 consists of the first portion 22a only, the second conductive type region 34 consists of the second portion 22b only, and the barrier region 36 consists of the buffer portion 22c only.

    [0099] As shown in the above, the first and second portions 22a and 22b of the buffer layer 22 are able to act as the conductive type regions 32 and 34, respectively. Thus, in the example, without the additional semiconductor layer (reference numeral 30 of FIG. 1), only the buffer layer 22 constitutes the conductive type regions 32 and 34. Thereby, the structure of the solar cell 100 can be simplified and the method for manufacturing the solar cell 100 can be simplified.

    [0100] To manufacture the solar cell 100 where the buffer layer 22 solely acts as the conductive type regions 32 and 34, the buffer layer 22 consisting of the buffer portion 22c is formed as shown in FIG. 3b, and then, the first and second conductive type dopants are doped to the buffer layer 22. The descriptions of the doping of the semiconductor layer 30 referring to FIG. 3e may be intactly applied to the doping of the first and second conductive type dopants to the buffer layer 22. Thus, detailed descriptions are omitted.

    [0101] In the example, the buffer layer 22 may have a thickness of about 300nm or less (more particularly, about 2nm to about 300nm). This is because the buffer layer 22 has sufficient thickness suitable to act as the conductive type regions 32 and 34. The buffer layer 22 may have the thickness of about 100nm to about 300nm to effectively acts as the conductive type regions 32 and 34. However, the thickness of the buffer layer 22 may be varied.

    [0102] The buffer layer 22 has a uniform oxygen amount in a thickness direction of the buffer layer 22. That is, as in the descriptions referring to FIG. 1, the oxygen amount of the buffer layer 22 may be a uniform value in a range of about 10 at% to about 45 at% in the thickness direction of the buffer layer 22.

    [0103] That is, a portion of the buffer layer 22 adjacent to the tunneling layer 20 has a relatively high oxygen amount and a relatively low silicon amount in order to prevent the undesirable tunneling. On the other hand, another portion of the buffer layer 22 far from the tunneling layer 20 (that is, adjacent to the electrodes 42 and 44) has a relatively low oxygen amount and a relatively high silicon amount in order to achieve electrical properties. For example, the portion of the buffer layer 22 adjacent to the tunneling layer 20 may have the oxygen amount of about 10 at% to about 45%, and the another portion of the buffer layer 22 far from the tunneling layer 20 may have the oxygen amount of about 10 at% or less (that is, about 0 at% to about 10 at%) and the silicon amount of about 90 at% or more (that is, about 90 at% to about 100 at%).

    [0104] For example, as the distance to the tunneling layer 20 increases, the oxygen amount of the buffer layer 22 gradually decrease and the silicon amount of the buffer layer 22 gradually increases. The buffer layer 22 may be formed by gradually varying the amount of the source gases used for forming the buffer layer 22.

    [0105] FIG. 5 is a sectional view of a solar cell according to another embodiment of the invention.

    [0106] Referring to FIG. 5, in the embodiment, the buffer layer 22 includes a buffer portion 22c only, and does not include first and second portions (reference numerals 22a and 22b of FIG. 1). That is, the buffer layer 22 is partially positioned to correspond to a portion between the first conductive type region 32 and the second conductive type region 34.

    [0107] The buffer layer 22 may be formed by entirely forming the buffer layer 22 on the tunneling layer 20 (as shown in FIG. 3b) and patterning the buffer layer 22. In the patterning of the buffer layer 22, portions of the buffer layer 22 that will correspond to the first and second conductive type regions 32 and 34 are eliminated. As another embodiment, the buffer layer 22 may be formed by partially forming the buffer layer 22 to correspond to the buffer portion 22c through using a mask or a mask layer.

    [0108] In the embodiment, the first conductive type region 32 consists of the first doping portion 30a only, and the second conductive type region 34 consists of the second doping portion 30b only. Thus, the doping properties of the first and second conductive type regions 32 and 34 can be enhanced. Between the first conductive type region 32 and the second conductive type region 34, the buffer portion 22c is positioned between the tunneling layer 20 and the barrier portion 30c, thereby effectively preventing the undesirable tunneling to the barrier portion 30c.

    [0109] It is exemplified that the position of the buffer portion 22c is the same as the position of the barrier portion 30c. Thus, the side surfaces of the buffer portion 22c are aligned or are in the same plane with the side surfaces of the barrier portion 30c. However, the invention is not limited thereto. Thus, the side surfaces of the buffer portion 22c may be not aligned or be not in the same plane with the side surfaces of the barrier portion 30c. For example, the buffer portion 22c has a width larger than a width of the barrier portion 30c, and the buffer portion 22c may entirely cover the barrier portion 30c. The other various modifications are possible.


    Claims

    1. A solar cell comprising:

    a semiconductor substrate (10);

    a tunneling layer (20) formed on a surface of the semiconductor substrate;

    a p-type region (32) and a n-type region (34) formed on the tunneling layer, the p- and n-type regions being disposed next to each other in a direction parallel to the surface of the semiconductor substrate and being separated by a barrier region (36);

    an electrode structure (42, 44) electrically connected to the p- and n-type regions,

    characterised in that the barrier region includes an intrinsic semiconductor portion (30c) and a buffer portion (22c) located between the intrinsic semiconductor portion and the tunneling layer, the buffer portion having stronger electrical insulating property than the intrinsic semiconductor portion.


     
    2. The solar cell of claim 1, wherein the buffer portion (22c) has weaker electrical insulating property than the tunneling layer (20).
     
    3. The solar cell of claim 1 or 2, wherein the buffer portion (22c) is formed of an intrinsic silicon oxide.
     
    4. The solar cell of any of claims 1 to 3, wherein:

    the p-type region (32) includes a first p-type conductive portion (30a) and a second p-type conductive portion (22a), wherein the second p-type conductive portion (22a) has lower electrical conductivity than the first p-type conductive portion (30a) and is disposed between the tunneling layer (20) and the first p-type conductive portion; and

    the n-type region (34) includes a first n-type conductive portion (30b) and a second n-type conductive portion (22b), wherein the second n-type conductive portion (22b) has lower electrical conductivity than the first n-type conductive portion (30b) and is disposed between the tunneling layer (20) and the first n-type conductive portion.


     
    5. The solar cell of claim 4, wherein the buffer portion (22c), the second p-type conductive portion (22a) and the second n-type conductive portion (22b) are formed by a buffer layer (22) made of a silicon oxide.
     
    6. The solar cell of claim 5, wherein at least one of a material, a composition and a crystalline structure of the tunneling layer (20) is different from those of the buffer layer (22).
     
    7. The solar cell of any one of claims 1 to 6, wherein the tunneling layer (20) and the buffer portion (22c) are each made of a silicon oxide, wherein an oxygen atomic percent of the buffer portion is smaller than an oxygen atomic percent of the tunneling layer and/or a silicon atomic percent of the buffer portion is larger than a silicon atomic percent of the tunneling layer.
     
    8. The solar cell of claim 7, wherein the silicon oxide of the buffer portion (22c) has an oxygen amount between about 10 at% and about 45 at%, and/or the buffer portion is made of SiOx wherein x is in a range of about 0.2 to about 1.5.
     
    9. The solar cell of claim 7 or 8, wherein an oxygen amount of the tunneling layer (20) is in a range from about 60 at% to about 70 at%, and/or the tunneling layer is made of SiOy wherein y is in a range of about 1.9 to about 2.1.
     
    10. The solar cell of any one of claims 1 to 9, wherein the tunneling layer (20) has an amorphous structure and the buffer portion (22c) has a poly-crystalline structure.
     
    11. The solar cell of any one of claims 1 to 10, wherein the buffer portion (22c) is thicker than the tunneling layer (20), wherein a ratio of the thickness of the tunneling layer (20) to the thickness of the buffer portion is preferably in a range of about 1:1.5 to about 1:10.
     
    12. The solar cell of any one of claims 1 to 11, wherein the tunneling layer (20) has a thickness of about 1.8 nm or less, and/or the buffer portion (22c) has a thickness of about 10 nm or less.
     
    13. The solar cell of any one of claims 1 to 12, wherein the following applies for at least one of the p-type and n-type regions (32, 34):

    a portion (22a, 22b) adjacent to the tunneling layer (20) has an oxygen amount larger than that of a portion (30a, 30b) distant from the tunneling layer; and/or

    a portion (22a, 22b) adjacent to the tunneling layer (20) has a lower doping concentration than a portion (30a, 30b) distant from the tunneling layer.


     
    14. A method of manufacturing a solar cell, optionally a solar cell as defined in any one preceding claim, comprising:

    forming a tunneling layer (20) on a surface of a semiconductor substrate (10);

    forming a p-type region (32), a barrier region (36) and a n-type region (34) on the tunneling layer next to each other in a direction parallel to the surface of the semiconductor substrate, so that the p- and n-type semiconductor regions are separated by a barrier region (36);

    forming an electrode structure (42, 44) electrically connected to the p- and n-type semiconductor regions,
    characterised in that the barrier region includes an intrinsic semiconductor portion (30c) and a buffer portion (22c) located between the intrinsic semiconductor portion and the tunneling layer, the buffer portion having stronger electrical insulating property than the intrinsic semiconductor portion.


     
    15. The method of claim 14, comprising:

    depositing a first silicon oxide layer on the surface of the semiconductor substrate to form the tunneling layer;

    depositing a second silicon oxide layer on the first silicon oxide layer to form a buffer layer (22) including the buffer portion (22c), wherein an oxygen amount of the second silicon oxide layer is smaller than that of the first silicon oxide layer and the second silicon oxide layer preferably has a poly-crystalline structure;

    depositing a semiconductor layer (300) on the second silicon oxide layer;

    localized doping the second silicon oxide layer and the semiconductor layer with p-type and n-type dopants to the form the p-type and n-type regions (32, 34) while leaving a portion of the second silicon oxide layer and the semiconductor layer undoped to form the barrier region (36).


     


    Ansprüche

    1. Solarzelle umfassend:

    ein Halbleitersubstrat (10);

    eine Tunnelschicht (20), die auf einer Oberfläche des Halbleitersubstrats gebildet ist;

    einen p-Typ-Bereich (32) und einen n-Typ-Bereich (34), die auf der Tunnelschicht gebildet sind, wobei der p- und der n-Typ-Bereich nebeneinander in einer Richtung parallel zur Oberfläche des Halbleitersubstrats angeordnet sind und durch einen Sperrbereich (36) getrennt sind;

    eine Elektrodenstruktur (42, 44), die elektrisch mit dem p- und dem n-Typ-Bereich verbunden ist,

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    der Sperrbereich einen intrinsischen Halbleiterabschnitt (30c) und einen Pufferabschnitt (22c) umfasst, der zwischen dem intrinsischen Halbleiterabschnitt und der Tunnelschicht angeordnet ist, wobei der Pufferabschnitt eine stärkere elektrische Isoliereigenschaft als der intrinsische Halbleiterabschnitt aufweist.


     
    2. Solarzelle nach Anspruch 1, wobei der Pufferabschnitt (22c) eine schwächere elektrische Isoliereigenschaft als die Tunnelschicht (20) aufweist.
     
    3. Solarzelle nach Anspruch 1 oder 2, wobei der Pufferabschnitt (22c) aus einem intrinsischen Siliciumoxid gebildet ist.
     
    4. Solarzelle nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 3, wobei:

    der p-Typ-Bereich (32) einen ersten leitenden p-Typ-Abschnitt (30a) und einen zweiten leitenden p-Typ-Abschnitt (22a) umfasst, wobei der zweite leitende p-Typ-Abschnitt (22a) eine niedrigere elektrische Leitfähigkeit als der erste leitende p-Typ-Abschnitt (30a) aufweist und zwischen der Tunnelschicht (20) und dem ersten leitenden p-Typ-Abschnitt angeordnet ist; und

    der n-Typ-Bereich (34) einen ersten leitenden n-Typ-Abschnitt (30b) und einen zweiten leitenden n-Typ-Abschnitt (22b) umfasst, wobei der zweite leitende n-Typ-Abschnitt (22b) eine niedrigere elektrische Leitfähigkeit als der erste leitende n-Typ-Abschnitt (30b) aufweist und zwischen der Tunnelschicht (20) und dem ersten leitenden n-Typ-Abschnitt angeordnet ist.


     
    5. Solarzelle nach Anspruch 4, wobei der Pufferabschnitt (22c), der zweite leitende p-Typ-Abschnitt (22a) und der zweite leitende n-Typ-Abschnitt (22b) durch eine aus einem Siliciumoxid gemachte Pufferschicht (22) gebildet sind.
     
    6. Solarzelle nach Anspruch 5, wobei sich mindestens eines aus einem Material, einer Zusammensetzung und einer Kristallstruktur der Tunnelschicht (20) von denen der Pufferschicht (22) unterscheidet.
     
    7. Solarzelle nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 6, wobei die Tunnelschicht (20) und der Pufferabschnitt (22c) jeweils aus einem Siliciumoxid gemacht sind, wobei ein Sauerstoffatomprozent des Pufferabschnitts kleiner als ein Sauerstoffatomprozent der Tunnelschicht ist und/oder ein Siliciumatomprozent des Pufferabschnitts größer als ein Siliciumatomprozent der Tunnelschicht ist.
     
    8. Solarzelle nach Anspruch 7, wobei das Siliciumoxid des Pufferabschnitts (22c) einen Sauerstoffanteil zwischen ungefähr 10 At.-% und ungefähr 45 At.-% aufweist und/oder der Pufferabschnitt aus SiOx gemacht ist, wobei x in einem Bereich von ungefähr 0,2 bis ungefähr 1,5 liegt.
     
    9. Solarzelle nach Anspruch 7 oder 8, wobei ein Sauerstoffanteil der Tunnelschicht (20) in einem Bereich von ungefähr 60 At.-% bis ungefähr 70 At.-% liegt und/oder die Tunnelschicht aus SiOy gemacht ist, wobei y in einem Bereich von ungefähr 1,9 bis ungefähr 2,1 liegt.
     
    10. Solarzelle nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 9, wobei die Tunnelschicht (20) eine amorphe Struktur aufweist und der Pufferabschnitt (22c) eine polykristalline Struktur aufweist.
     
    11. Solarzelle nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 10, wobei der Pufferabschnitt (22c) dicker als die Tunnelschicht (20) ist, wobei ein Verhältnis der Dicke der Tunnelschicht (20) zur Dicke der Pufferschicht vorzugsweise in einem Bereich von ungefähr 1: 1,5 bis ungefähr 1:10 liegt.
     
    12. Solarzelle nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 11, wobei die Tunnelschicht (20) eine Dicke von ungefähr 1,8 nm oder weniger hat und/oder der Pufferabschnitt (22c) eine Dicke von ungefähr 10 nm oder weniger hat.
     
    13. Solarzelle nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 12, wobei das Folgende für mindestens einen des p-Typ- und des n-Typ-Bereichs (32, 34) gilt:

    ein Abschnitt (22a, 22b) neben der Tunnelschicht (20) hat einen Sauerstoffanteil, der größer ist als der eines Abschnitts (30a, 30b), der von der Tunnelschicht entfernt ist;

    und/oder

    ein Abschnitt (22a, 22b) neben der Tunnelschicht (20) hat eine niedrigere Dotierungskonzentration als ein Abschnitt (30a, 30b), der von der Tunnelschicht entfernt ist.


     
    14. Verfahren zur Herstellung einer Solarzelle, wahlweise einer Solarzelle gemäß einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, umfassend:

    Bilden einer Tunnelschicht (20) auf einer Oberfläche eines Halbleitersubstrats (10);

    Bilden eines p-Typ-Bereichs (32), eines Sperrbereichs (36) und eines n-Typ-Bereichs (34) auf der Tunnelschicht nebeneinander in einer Richtung parallel zur Oberfläche des Halbleitersubstrats, so dass der p- und der n-Typ-Bereich durch einen Sperrbereich (36) getrennt sind;

    Bilden einer Elektrodenstruktur (42, 44), die elektrisch mit dem p- und dem n-Typ-Bereich verbunden ist,

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    der Sperrbereich einen intrinsischen Halbleiterabschnitt (30c) und einen Pufferabschnitt (22c) umfasst, der zwischen dem intrinsischen Halbleiterabschnitt und der Tunnelschicht angeordnet ist, wobei der Pufferabschnitt eine stärkere elektrische Isoliereigenschaft als der intrinsische Halbleiterabschnitt aufweist.


     
    15. Verfahren nach Anspruch 14, umfassend:

    Abscheiden einer ersten Siliciumoxidschicht auf der Oberfläche des Halbleitersubstrats, um die Tunnelschicht zu bilden;

    Abscheiden einer zweiten Siliciumoxidschicht auf der ersten Siliciumoxidschicht, um eine Pufferschicht (22) einschließlich des Pufferabschnitts (22c) zu bilden, wobei ein Sauerstoffanteil der zweiten Siliciumoxidschicht kleiner ist als jener der ersten Siliciumoxidschicht und die zweite Siliciumoxidschicht vorzugsweise eine polykristalline Struktur aufweist;

    Abscheiden einer Halbleiterschicht (300) auf der zweiten Siliciumoxidschicht;

    lokalisierte Dotierung der zweiten Siliciumoxidschicht und der Halbleiterschicht mit p-Typ- und n-Typ-Dotierstoffen, um den p-Typ- und den n-Typ-Bereich (32, 34) zu bilden, während ein Abschnitt der zweiten Siliciumoxidschicht und des Halbleiterschicht undotiert belassen wird, um den Sperrbereich (36) zu bilden.


     


    Revendications

    1. Cellule solaire comprenant :

    un substrat semi-conducteur (10) ;

    une couche à effet tunnel (20) formée sur une surface du substrat semi-conducteur ;

    une région de type p (32) et une région de type n (34) formées sur la couche à effet tunnel, les régions de type p et n étant disposées à côté l'une de l'autre dans une direction parallèle à la surface du substrat semi-conducteur et étant séparées par une région barrière (36) ;

    une structure d'électrode (42, 44) connectée électriquement aux régions de type p et n,

    caractérisée en ce que la région barrière comprend une partie semi-conductrice intrinsèque (30c) et une partie tampon (22c) située entre la partie semi-conductrice intrinsèque et la couche à effet tunnel, la partie tampon présentant une propriété d'isolation électrique plus forte que la partie semi-conductrice intrinsèque.


     
    2. Cellule solaire selon la revendication 1, dans laquelle la partie tampon (22c) présente une propriété d'isolation électrique plus faible que la couche à effet tunnel (20).
     
    3. Cellule solaire selon la revendication 1 ou 2, dans laquelle la partie tampon (22c) est formée d'un oxyde de silicium intrinsèque.
     
    4. Cellule solaire selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 3, dans laquelle :

    la région de type p (32) comprend une première partie conductrice de type p (30a) et une seconde partie conductrice de type p (22a), dans laquelle la seconde partie conductrice de type p (22a) a une conductivité électrique inférieure à la première partie conductrice de type p (30a) et est disposée entre la couche à effet tunnel (20) et la première partie conductrice de type p ; et

    la région de type n (34) comprend une première partie conductrice de type n (30b) et une seconde partie conductrice de type n (22b), dans laquelle la seconde partie conductrice de type n (22b) a une conductivité électrique inférieure à la première partie conductrice de type n (30b) et est disposée entre la couche à effet tunnel (20) et la première partie conductrice de type n.


     
    5. Cellule solaire selon la revendication 4, dans laquelle la partie tampon (22c), la seconde partie conductrice de type p (22a) et la seconde partie conductrice de type n (22b) sont formées par une couche tampon (22) constituée d'un oxyde de silicium.
     
    6. Cellule solaire selon la revendication 5, dans laquelle au moins l'un d'un matériau, d'une composition et d'une structure cristalline de la couche à effet tunnel (20) est différent de ceux de la couche tampon (22).
     
    7. Cellule solaire selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 6, dans laquelle la couche à effet tunnel (20) et la partie tampon (22c) sont chacune constituées d'un oxyde de silicium, dans laquelle un pourcentage atomique d'oxygène de la partie tampon est plus faible qu'un pourcentage atomique d'oxygène de la couche à effet tunnel et/ou un pourcentage atomique de silicium de la partie tampon est plus élevé qu'un pourcentage atomique de silicium de la couche à effet tunnel.
     
    8. Cellule solaire selon la revendication 7, dans laquelle l'oxyde de silicium de la partie tampon (22c) a une quantité d'oxygène comprise entre environ 10 % at et environ 45 % at, et/ou la partie tampon est constituée de SiOx dans lequel x est dans une plage d'environ 0,2 à environ 1,5.
     
    9. Cellule solaire selon la revendication 7 ou 8, dans laquelle une quantité d'oxygène de la couche à effet tunnel (20) est dans une plage d'environ 60 % at à environ 70 % at, et/ou la couche à effet tunnel est constituée de SiOy dans lequel y est dans une plage d'environ 1,9 à environ 2,1.
     
    10. Cellule solaire selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 9, dans laquelle la couche à effet tunnel (20) a une structure amorphe et la partie tampon (22c) a une structure polycristalline.
     
    11. Cellule solaire selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 10, dans laquelle la partie tampon (22c) est plus épaisse que la couche à effet tunnel (20), dans laquelle un rapport de l'épaisseur de la couche à effet tunnel (20) à l'épaisseur de la partie tampon est de préférence dans une plage d'environ 1:1,5 à environ 1:10.
     
    12. Cellule solaire selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 11, dans laquelle la couche à effet tunnel (20) a une épaisseur d'environ 1,8 nm ou moins, et/ou la partie tampon (22c) a une épaisseur d'environ 10 nm ou moins.
     
    13. Cellule solaire selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 12, dans laquelle ce qui suit s'applique à au moins l'une des régions de type p et de type n (32, 34) :

    une partie (22a, 22b) adjacente à la couche à effet tunnel (20) a une quantité d'oxygène supérieure à celle d'une partie (30a, 30b) distante de la couche à effet tunnel ; et/ou

    une partie (22a, 22b) adjacente à la couche à effet tunnel (20) a une concentration de dopage inférieure à une partie (30a, 30b) distante de la couche à effet tunnel.


     
    14. Procédé de fabrication d'une cellule solaire, éventuellement d'une cellule solaire telle que définie selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, comprenant :

    la formation d'une couche à effet tunnel (20) sur une surface d'un substrat semi-conducteur (10) ;

    la formation d'une région de type p (32), d'une région barrière (36) et d'une région de type n (34) sur la couche à effet tunnel côte à côte dans une direction parallèle à la surface du substrat semi-conducteur, de telle sorte que les régions semi-conductrices de type p et n sont séparées par une région barrière (36) ;

    la formation d'une structure d'électrode (42, 44) connectée électriquement aux régions semi-conductrices de type p et n,

    caractérisé en ce que la région barrière comprend une partie semi-conductrice intrinsèque (30c) et une partie tampon (22c) située entre la partie semi-conductrice intrinsèque et la couche à effet tunnel, la partie tampon présentant une propriété d'isolation électrique plus forte que la partie semi-conductrice intrinsèque.


     
    15. Procédé selon la revendication 14, comprenant :

    le dépôt d'une première couche d'oxyde de silicium sur la surface du substrat semi-conducteur pour former la couche à effet tunnel ;

    le dépôt d'une seconde couche d'oxyde de silicium sur la première couche d'oxyde de silicium pour former une couche tampon (22) comprenant la partie tampon (22c), dans laquelle la quantité d'oxygène de la seconde couche d'oxyde de silicium est inférieure à celle de la première couche d'oxyde de silicium et la seconde couche d'oxyde de silicium a de préférence une structure polycristalline ;

    le dépôt d'une couche semi-conductrice (300) sur la seconde couche d'oxyde de silicium ;

    le dopage localisé de la seconde couche d'oxyde de silicium et de la couche semi-conductrice avec des dopants de type p et de type n pour former les régions de type p et de type n (32, 34) tout en laissant une partie de la seconde couche d'oxyde de silicium et la couche semi-conductrice non dopée pour former la région barrière (36).


     




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    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description