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Microcracks in silicon wafers II: Implications on solar cell characteristics, statistics and physical origin
urn:nbn:de:0011-n-3791024 (1.4 MByte PDF)
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Created on: 7.7.2016
Microcracks that are induced in early processing stages, especially before emitter diffusion, strongly influence the current-voltage (I-V) characteristics of the solar cell. We focus on the impact of crack morphology measured by photoluminescence imaging in the as-cut stage on the electrical solar cell parameters. To provide a sufficient statistical base, microcracks are intentionally induced in a well-defined way in multi- (mc-Si) and mono- (Cz-Si) crystalline silicon wafers in the as-cut stage, the damaged wafers being processed to solar cells afterwards. From the dataset, a sorting criterion for microcracks concerning their electrical impact is derived, which depends on wafer thickness and material type. It is shown that cracks above 4 mm2 lead with high probability to severe shunts and, thus, need to be sorted out. Investigations by means of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and electron-beam induced current (EBIC) measurements reveal that shunts with very low parallel resistance in Cz-Si solar cells can be attributed to metal-to-metal contacts between front and rear sides of the solar cell. Moreover, it is shown that the reduced robustness of Cz-Si compared with mc-Si concerning the formation of shunts at microcracks originates from a widening of the crack channels above 10 μm in alkaline texturing, which facilitates the formation of metal-to-metal contacts.