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Impurity control in high performance multicrystalline silicon

Photovoltaic solar energy is recognized as one of the most promising future sustainable energy sources. Multicrystalline silicon solar cells represent the most cost effective alternative. In this type of solar cells crystal defects and impurities are pres ent; crystal defects are introduced during crystallization, and impurities are introduced from the feedstock, the crucibles or the coating. The impurities and defects interact to reduce the solar cell efficiency. Therefore research which aims to increase solar cell efficiency needs to address two factors: How to minimize the presence of crystal defects and impurities, and how to mitigate their effects.

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Recent developments in crystallization technology have shown that it is possible to produce silicon wit h particularly low defect density in a robust industrial manner. The underlying assumption for this project is therefore that future improvements can now most likely be reached by achieving a better control of contamination.

The primary objective of the proposed project is therefore to develop knowledge about impurity transport processes and impurity-defect interaction throughout the process of producing high performance multicrystalline silicon solar cells. The final aim is to provide reliable specific ations for the main components in the crystal growth system, i.e. silicon feedstock, crucibles and coating, as well as best practice guidelines for the process.

The project involves 4 industry and 3 research partners. The challenges will be approached th rough integrated use of experiments and mathematical modelling.

The competence built within this project aims at answering technologically critical questions and providing a better general understanding of the impurity transport through the value chain. These results are of high importance for the partners as well as the global photovoltaic industry and research community.

The project is financed by the Research Council of Norway (RCN)

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Project duration

2013 - 2017