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In-line plasma-chemical etching of crystalline silicon solar wafers at atmospheric pressure

: Linaschke, D.; Leistner, M.; Grabau, P.; Mäder, G.; Grählert, W.; Dani, I.; Kaskel, S.; Beyer, E.


IEEE transactions on plasma science 37 (2009), No.6, pp.979-984
ISSN: 0093-3813
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IWS ()

Atmospheric pressure plasma technologies are a potential substitution for wet chemical and vacuum processes in the production of crystalline silicon solar cells, leading to a simplified in-line processing chain. In this contribution, a plasma chemical etching technology is presented as a basic step for a future continuous production process. A linearly extended DC arc discharge is used for activation of the etching gases. An Ar-N2 mixture is fed through the plasma source; etch gases are injected into the afterglow plasma, near the substrate. Controlled purge gas systems prevent the contamination of the reaction zone with air or moisture as well as the release of reaction products. The plasma source was studied by a noninvasive in-line monitoring of the DC arc phenomena. Silicon etching rates can be controlled by the etch gas composition and the plasma conditions. Fourier Transform infrared spectroscopy of the waste gas was applied to monitor the current etching rates. First industrial tests confirmed standard efficiencies of the cells after edge isolation by atmospheric pressure plasma etching.