Influence of different nucleation layers on the initial grain structure of multicrystalline silicon ingots
The grain structure of high-performance (HP) multicrystalline silicon (mc-Si) is characterized by a small initial grain size with randomly oriented grains and a high length fraction of random grain boundaries. However, the remaining unmelted feedstock at the ingot bottom used as seeding layer for achieving the HP mc-Si properties in the standard crystallization procedure causes yield loss. To overcome this dis-advantage, the influence of wetting angle, and surface roughness of non-Si nucleation layers at the crucible bottom on the grain structure properties of me-Si ingots with a weight of 14.5 kg was investigated and compared to classical HP mc-Si. For that purpose, SiC and SiO2 nucleation layers realized by spraying and embedding of particles with different sizes resulting in different surface morphologies and wetting angles were studied. Nucleation on rough layers of both materials with a root mean square roughness value greater than 100 mu m yielded an initially fine grain structure comparable to HP mc-Si. This did not necessarily result in a random orientation distribution and high length fraction of random grain boundaries. Nucleation on SiC layers caused random grain boundary length fractions between 20 and 30% and non-uniform grain distributions. But, nucleation on SiO2 layers yielded increased random grain boundary length fractions between 50 and 70% and homogenous grain distributions, both values are similar to HP mc-Si. These differences are discussed in terms of the thermal conductivity of the different nucleation layers.