Applied Physics A

, Volume 96, Issue 1, pp 189–196

Photographic diagnosis of crystalline silicon solar cells utilizing electroluminescence

Invited paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00339-008-4986-0

Cite this article as:
Fuyuki, T. & Kitiyanan, A. Appl. Phys. A (2009) 96: 189. doi:10.1007/s00339-008-4986-0


The photographic surveying of electroluminescence (EL) under forward bias was proved to be a powerful diagnostic tool for investigating not only the material properties but also process induced deficiencies visually in silicon (Si) solar cells. Under forward bias condition, solar cells emit infrared light (wavelength around 1000 to 1200 nm) whose intensity reflects the number of minority carriers in base layers. Thus, all the causes that affect the carrier density can be detected, i.e., the minority carrier diffusion length (or in other words, lifetime), recombination velocity at surfaces and interfaces, etc. (intrinsic material properties), and wafer breakage and electrode breakdown, etc. (extrinsic defects). The EL intensity distribution can be captured by Si CCD camera in less than 1 s, and the detection area simply depends upon the optical lens system suitable to the wide range of 1 cm–1.5 m. This fast and precise technique is superior to the conventional scanning method such as the laser beam induced current (LBIC) method.

The EL images are displayed as grayscale, which leads to the difficulty of distinguishing the sorts of those deficient areas. Since the intrinsic deficiency is more sensitive to temperature than the extrinsic deficiency, the change in solar cell temperature can offer the difference in EL intensity contrasts. These effects upon the measurement temperature can be applied to categorize the types of deficiency in the crystalline Si solar cell.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Materials ScienceNara Institute of Science and TechnologyIkomaJapan