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In this letter, we investigate the nature of shunt leakage currents in large-area (on the order of square centimeters) thin-film a-Si:H p-i-n solar cells and show that it is characterized by following universal features: (1) voltage symmetry; (2) power-law voltage dependence; and (3) weak temperature dependence. The voltage symmetry offers a robust empirical method to isolate the diode current from measured “shunt-contaminated” forward dark IV. We find that space-charge-limited current provides the best qualitative explanation for the observed features of the shunt current. Finally, we discuss the possible physical origin of localized shunt paths in the light of experimental observations from literature.
Date of Publication: Nov. 2010