Abstract In this comprehensive study, several interesting results which are different from those previous are reported. We find the barrier height decreases for n-type and increases for p-type when positive ions are introduced into the insulating layer. The increase of open circuit voltage can be traced to the suppression of the dark saturation current by the depletion field induced by the positive charge, and to the diminution of the majority tunneling current by the oxide potential barrier. The tunneling probabilities for majority and minority carriers are different; there are only a finite amount of majority carriers with thermionic energy greater than q( V bi − V s ) which can surmount the depletion potential and tunnel into the metal, whereas the photogenerated minority carriers derive kinetic energy in the depletion layer making tunneling easier. Transport coefficients for electrons to transmit from metal to semiconductor and from semiconductor to metal are different for the departure of built in potentials during illumination.