Mechanism of Na accumulation at extended defects in Si from first-principles

Ji Sang Park, Maria K.Y. Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Sodium (Na) impurities in silicon solar cells are considered to play an important role in potential-induced degradation (PID), a significant cause of solar cell degradation and failure. Shorting due to Na accumulation at extended defects has been suggested as a culprit for PID. However, it is not clear how the extended defects are decorated by Na impurities. Using first-principles density functional theory calculations, we find that Na impurities segregate from the bulk into extended defects such as intrinsic stacking faults and Σ3 (111) grain boundaries. The energy barrier required for Na to escape from the extended defects is substantial and similar to the sum of the barrier energy in bulk Si (1.1-1.2 eV) and the segregation energy to the stacking fault (∼0.7 eV). Surprisingly, the migration barrier for Na diffusion within the extended defects is even higher than the energy barrier for escaping. The results suggest that the extended defects likely accumulate Na as the impurities segregate to the defects from the bulk, rather than because of migration through the extended defects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number161560
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number16
StatePublished - Apr 28 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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