In this work, nickel thin films were deposited on texture silicon by electroless plated deposition. The electroless-deposited Ni layers were characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDS), X-ray diffraction analysis (XRD), and sheet resistance measurement. The results indicate that the dominant phase was Ni2
Si and NiSi in samples annealed at 300–800 °C. Sheet resistance values were found to correlate well with the surface morphology obtained by SEM and the results of XRD diffraction. The Cu/Ni contact system was used to fabricate solar cells by using two different activating baths. The open circuit voltage (Voc) of the Cu/Ni samples, before and after annealing, was measured under air mass (AM) 1.5 conditions to determine solar cell properties. The results show that open circuit voltage of a solar cell can be enhanced when the activation solution incorporated hydrofluoric acid (HF). This is mainly attributed to the native silicon oxide layer that can be decreased and/or removed by HF with the corresponding reduction of series resistance.
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