Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering (PhD)

Degree Level



Electrical Engineering


Hameed A. Naseem

Committee Member

William Oliver III

Second Committee Member

Simon Ang

Third Committee Member

Shui-Qing Yu

Fourth Committee Member

Douglas Hutchings


Atomic hydrogen, Photovoltaics, Silicon, Solar cell


The solar industry has grown immensely in recent years and has reached a point where solar energy has now become inexpensive enough that it is starting to emerge as a mainstream electrical generation source. However, recent economic analysis has suggested that for solar to become a truly wide spread source of electricity, the costs still need to plummet by a factor of 8x. This demands new and innovative concepts to help lower such cost. In pursuit of this goal, this dissertation examines the use of atomic hydrogen to lessen the recombination current density in the boron doped region of n-type silicon solar cells. This required the development of a boron diffusion process that maintained the bulk lifetime of n-type silicon such that the recombination current density could be extracted by photoconductance spectroscopy. It is demonstrated that by hydrogenating boron diffusions, the majority carrier concentration can be controlled. By using symmetrically diffused test structures with quinhydrone-methanol surface passivation the recombination current density of a hydrogenated boron profile is shown to be less than that of a standard boron profile, by as much as 30%. This is then applied to a modified industrial silicon solar cell process to demonstrate an efficiency enhancement of 0.4%.