Silicon Heterojunction Microcells

Maggie M. Potter, Megan E. Phelan, Pradeep Balaji, Phillip Jahelka, Haley C. Bauser, Rebecca D. Glaudell, Cora M. Went, Michael J. Enright, David R. Needell, André Augusto, Harry A. Atwater, Ralph G. Nuzzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report the design, fabrication, and characterization of silicon heterojunction microcells, a new type of photovoltaic cell that leverages high-efficiency bulk wafers in a microscale form factor, while also addressing the challenge of passivating microcell sidewalls to mitigate carrier recombination. We present synthesis methods exploiting either dry etching or laser cutting to realize microcells with native oxide-based edge passivation. Measured microcell performance for both fabrication processes is compared to that in simulations. We characterize the dependence of microcell open-circuit voltage (Voc) on the cell area-perimeter ratio and examine synthesis processes that affect edge passivation quality, such as sidewall damage removal, the passivation material, and the deposition technique. We report the highest Si microcell Voc to date (588 mV, for a 400 μm × 400 μm × 80 μm device), demonstrate Voc improvements with deposited edge passivation of up to 55 mV, and outline a pathway to achieve microcell efficiencies surpassing 15% for such device sizes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45600-45608
Number of pages9
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number38
StatePublished - Sep 29 2021


  • edge passivation
  • microcell
  • microfabrication
  • photovoltaic
  • silicon heterojunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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