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Characterization of silicon for solar cells and microelectronics

SINTEF offers facilities for characterization of quality parameters of silicon for solar cells and electronics applications.

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Our services and customers:
SINTEF is working closely with industrial customers and other research institutions in the field of silicon solar cells. We want to build fundamental competence as well as address specific, process-related challenges. Since we started the activity in 2000, we have built up a reserve of characterization equipment specifically for solar grade silicon. In addition, we use a number of generic methods that are useful for studies of solar grade silicon.

Examples of characterization methods we use:

  • Microstructure: Etching of defects in multi- and monocrystalline silicon: automatic quantification (PVScan) and manual analysis. Crystal orientation and grain boundaries by means of EBSD, Laue x-ray and TEM.
  • Contaminants: Oxygen and carbon content by means of FTIR, IGFA / CIA. Mass spectrometry (GDMS, ICP-MS), Auger microscopy, EPMA / EDS, XRF / XPS
  • Mechanical properties: Bending Testing (wafers), hardness (impression), tension (high-temperature)
  • Electrical characteristics: Lifetime (CDI, μW-PCD, QSSPC / TPC), conductivity (4-point probe and eddy-current scanning), PL-scanning (band-to-band, high resolution), Lateral Photovoltage Scanning (LPS), EBIC, LBIC

Typical assignments for us are:

  • Combined crystallization and characterization mission: We create a crystal in one of our crystallization furnaces according to customer orders, and characterizes the relevant material properties
  • Analysis of externally produced samples
  • Collaborations between industry and research institutions, supported by the Research Council or the EU

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