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Defect characterization of polycrystalline silicon layers obtained by aluminum-induced crystallization and epitaxy

  • Dries Van Gestel (a1), Ivan Gordon (a2), Lodewijk Carnel (a3), Guy Beaucarne (a4) and Jef Poortmans (a5)...


To reduce the harmful influence of grain boundaries in polycrystalline Si layers we make absorber layers on foreign substrates with columnar grains with a grain width larger than the grain thickness. Such layers with a grain size in the range of ~1-100 µm can be obtained by aluminum-induced crystallization and epitaxy. Until now however, the open-circuit voltage of solar cells made from such layers was quasi-independent of the grain size. To understand this fact, defect etching and Electron Backscattered diffraction (EBSD) measurements were performed to investigate the crystallographic defects. A very large density (~ 109 cm-2) of intra-grain defects (IGD) was found. Room temperature Electron Beam Induced Current (EBIC) measurements were done to localize and investigate the electrically active defects. The intra-grain defects found with defect etching showed a strong recombination activity. These results indicate that the unexpected quasi-independence on the grain size of the open-circuit voltage of our pc-Si solar cells is due to the presence of numerous electrically active intra-grain defects.



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