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Copper deposition on screen printed electrical paths for solar cell application

Kazimierz Drabczyk (Institute of Metallurgy and Materials Science, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków, Poland)
Robert P. Socha (Jerzy Haber Institute of Catalysis and Surface Chemistry, Polish Academy of Sciences, Krakow, Poland)
Agata Skwarek (Institute of Electron Technology, Krakow, Poland)

Circuit World

ISSN: 0305-6120

Article publication date: 3 August 2015




The aim of this paper is to present results of investigations carried out on the front electrode of solar cells. Nowadays, most worldwide solar cell production is dominated by monocrystalline and polycrystalline silicon as a base material. In such cells, the electrical carriers are collected by the system of metallic paths fabricated on a silicon surface. One possible way to increase cell efficiency and reduce the production costs of solar modules is to replace the expensive silver by cheaper copper in front metallic electrodes.


The paper presents results of investigations performed on the front electrode of the solar cell. The investigations were focused on the modification of typical screen printing fabrication of the thin electrical finger paths of the front solar cell electrode. The resulting contacts were characterized morphologically (the dimensions and geometry of the front contacts) by scanning electron microscopy. The composition of finger path covered with copper was analyzed using energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy techniques.


In this work, the front electrodes were screen printed with the use of conventional silver-paste on a p-type Cz–Si-textured wafer with a n+ emitter and with an antireflection coating. After that, the fired front electrode was electroless coated with copper. The electroless copper deposition was performed in two stages. First, the surface of the photovoltaic cell was dipped in an aqueous solution of CuSO4 and then dried in air at room temperature. When the surface dried, the cell was immersed in hydrogen fluoride solution (5 per cent) for 1 s followed by rinsing in deionization water.


The experiments confirmed the potential application of copper as an additional layer of the solar cell front metal electrode. On the one hand, this process is very simple and, on the other, the authors demonstrate a problem with the mechanical stability of the covered paths leading to electrode delamination.



The research leading to these results received funding from the Polish-Norwegian Research Programme operated by the National Centre for Research and Development under the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2009-2014 in the frame of Project Contract No POL-NOR/199380/89/2014.


Drabczyk, K., Socha, R.P. and Skwarek, A. (2015), "Copper deposition on screen printed electrical paths for solar cell application", Circuit World, Vol. 41 No. 3, pp. 98-101.



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