Phosphorus Diffusion Gettering Efficacy in Upgraded Metallurgical-Grade Solar Silicon
In the context of the continuous price reduction in photovoltaics (PV) in recent years, Si feedstock continues to be a relevant component in the cost breakdown of a PV module, highlighting the need for low-cost, low-capital expenditure (CAPEX) silicon technologies to further reduce this cost component. Upgraded metallurgical-grade silicon (UMG Si) has recently received much attention, improving its quality and even attaining, in some cases, solar cell efficiencies similar to those of conventional material. However, some technical challenges still have to be addressed when processing this material to compensate efficiently for the high content of impurities and contaminants. Adaptation of a conventional solar cell process to monocrystalline UMG Si wafers has been studied in this work. In particular, a tailored phosphorus diffusion gettering step followed by a low-temperature anneal at 700°C was implemented, resulting in enhanced bulk lifetime and emitter recombination properties. In spite of the need for further research and material optimization, UMG Si wafers were successfully processed, achieving efficiencies in the range of 15% for a standard laboratory solar cell process with aluminum back surface field.
KeywordsUMG silicon gettering phosphorus diffusion low-temperature annealing
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