We present an approach to selectively examine an asymmetric potential in the buried layer of solar cell devices by means of nonlinear x-ray spectroscopy. Detecting second harmonic generation signals while resonant to the SiO2 core level, we directly observe existence of the band bending effect in the SiO2 nanolayer, buried in the heterostructures of Al/LiF/SiO2/Si, TiO2/SiO2/Si, and Al 2 O 3/SiO2/Si. The results demonstrate high sensitivity of the method to the asymmetric potential that determines performance of functional materials for photovoltaics or other optoelectronic devices.

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