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Atom Probe Tomography Study of Gettering in High-Performance Multicrystalline Silicon

: Tweddle, D.; Hamer, P.; Shen, Z.; Heinz, F.D.; Krenckel, P.; Riepe, S.; Schindler, F.; Wilshaw, P.R.; Moody, M.P.


IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics 10 (2020), Nr.3, S.863-871
ISSN: 2156-3381
ISSN: 2156-3403
Fraunhofer ISE ()
Photovoltaik; Silicium-Photovoltaik; feedstock; Kristallisation und Wafering; Charakterisierung von Prozess- und Silicium-Materialien; Gettering; silicon; Probe Tomography; activity; defects

During the production of high-performance multicrystalline silicon (HPMC-Si) solar cells, gettering occurs inherently during the formation of an emitter. The material benefits with an increase in minority carrier lifetime from the external gettering of impurities into the diffused layer. However, depending on the thermal budget and parameters of the emitter diffusion, as well as the specific material properties, the process can also be detrimental in terms of increased recombination activity of specific crystallographic defects. Thus, it is important to understand the root causes behind the change in recombination activity of defects following gettering. Here, we present a correlative atom probe tomography study of grain boundaries in both p- and n-type HPMC-Si before and after gettering. The presence of nitrogen was found to directly correlate with the increase in recombination activity at grain boundaries. Additionally, an estimation of the atom probe tomography detection limit for transition metals in silicon is made and found to be greater than known impurity levels in commercial HPMC-Si.