The n-type silicon integrated-back contact (IBC) solar cell has attracted much attention due to its high efficiency, whereas its performance is very sensitive to the wafer of low quality or the contamination during high temperature fabrication processing, which leads to low bulk lifetime τ. In order to clarify the influence of bulk lifetime on cell characteristics, two-dimensional (2D) TCAD simulation, combined with our experimental data, is used to simulate the cell performances, with the wafer thickness scaled down under various τ conditions. The modeling results show that for the IBC solar cell with high τ, (such as 1 ms–2 ms), its open-circuit voltage V almost remains unchanged, and the short-circuit current density J monotonically decreases as the wafer thickness scales down. In comparison, for the solar cell with low τ (for instance, < 500 μs) wafer or the wafer contaminated during device processing, the V increases monotonically but the J first increases to a maximum value and then drops off as the wafer's thickness decreases. A model combing the light absorption and the minority carrier diffusion is used to explain this phenomenon. The research results show that for the wafer with thinner thickness and high bulk lifetime, the good light trapping technology must be developed to offset the decrease in J.
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