Dislocation clusters in multicrystalline silicon limit solar cell performance by decreasing minority carrier diffusion length. Studies have shown that the recombination strength of dislocation clusters can vary by up to two orders of magnitude, even within the same wafer. In this contribution, we combine a surface-analysis approach with bulk characterization techniques to explore the underlying root cause of variations in recombination strength among different clusters. We observe that dislocation clusters with higher recombination strength consist of dislocations with a larger variation of line vector, correlated with a higher degree of variation in dislocation etch-pit shapes (ellipticities). Conversely, dislocation clusters exhibiting the lowest recombination strength contain mostly dislocations with identical line vectors, resulting in very similar etch-pit shapes. The disorder of dislocation line vector in high-recombination clusters appears to be correlated with impurity decoration, possibly the cause of the enhanced recombination activity. Based on our observations, we conclude that the relative recombination activity of different dislocation clusters in the device may be predicted via an optical inspection of the distribution and shape variation of dislocation etch pits in the as-grown wafer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)