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Materials 2014, 7(2), 1318-1341; doi:10.3390/ma7021318
Review

Review of the Potential of the Ni/Cu Plating Technique for Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells

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Received: 4 December 2013 / Revised: 21 January 2014 / Accepted: 10 February 2014 / Published: 18 February 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Energy Materials 2013)
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Abstract

Developing a better method for the metallization of silicon solar cells is integral part of realizing superior efficiency. Currently, contact realization using screen printing is the leading technology in the silicon based photovoltaic industry, as it is simple and fast. However, the problem with metallization of this kind is that it has a lower aspect ratio and higher contact resistance, which limits solar cell efficiency. The mounting cost of silver pastes and decreasing silicon wafer thicknesses encourages silicon solar cell manufacturers to develop fresh metallization techniques involving a lower quantity of silver usage and not relying pressing process of screen printing. In recent times nickel/copper (Ni/Cu) based metal plating has emerged as a metallization method that may solve these issues. This paper offers a detailed review and understanding of a Ni/Cu based plating technique for silicon solar cells. The formation of a Ni seed layer by adopting various deposition techniques and a Cu conducting layer using a light induced plating (LIP) process are appraised. Unlike screen-printed metallization, a step involving patterning is crucial for opening the masking layer. Consequently, experimental procedures involving patterning methods are also explicated. Lastly, the issues of adhesion, back ground plating, process complexity and reliability for industrial applications are also addressed.
Keywords: metallization; solar cell; efficiency; screen printing; photovoltaic; contact resistance; nickel/copper; metal plating; light induced plating (LIP); adhesion metallization; solar cell; efficiency; screen printing; photovoltaic; contact resistance; nickel/copper; metal plating; light induced plating (LIP); adhesion
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Rehman, A.U.; Lee, S.H. Review of the Potential of the Ni/Cu Plating Technique for Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells. Materials 2014, 7, 1318-1341.

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