High-performance silicon heterojunction (SHJ) solar cells use carrier-selective contact structures based on hydrogentated amorphous Si (a-Si:H) to maximize collection of photogenerated carriers. The high open circuit voltages observed experimentally in SHJ cells require that the carrier-selective contacts provide selectivity and passivation. However, a microscopic understanding of the dynamics of carrier transport through the a-Si layer is currently lacking. In this paper, we explicitly simulate the transport of holes across the a-Si:H(i) layer using a novel kinetic Monte Carlo approach. The hole-selective contact structure investigated in this paper uses p-type doped a-Si:H(p) and intrinsic a-Si:H(i) on an n-type crystalline silicon wafer, where the selectivity is provided by the a-Si:H(p) and the passivation is provided by the a-Si:H(i). However, in addition to the passivation provided by the a-Si:H(i), this layer also creates a potential barrier to the collection of photogenerated holes. There have been experimental studies in the literature that have suggested that multi-phonon processes are the main transport mechanism that assists in the transport of holes across the intrinsic a-Si:H barrier. Simulations presented here show that multi-phonon injection of holes into the a-Si:H(i) layer is the rate limiting step for transport across the a-Si:H(i) layer. Our results indicate that multi-phonon transport is strongly dependent on the electric field at the a-Si:H(i)/c-Si heterointerface as well. Transport simulations presented in this paper are consistent with experimental findings that multi-phonon processes limit transport across the a-Si:H(i) layer and are responsible for photocurrent suppression at the a-Si:H(i)/c-Si heterointerface when these processes are slower than the associated incident hole flux due to photo-excitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)490-502
Number of pages13
JournalProgress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022


  • device modeling
  • photovoltaics
  • solar cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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