Method for Determining Average Damage Depth of Sawn Crystalline Silicon Wafers

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    4 Scopus Citations


    The depth of surface damage (or simply, damage) in crystalline silicon wafers, caused by wire sawing of ingots, is determined by performing a series of minority carrier lifetime (MCLT) measurements. Samples are sequentially etched to remove thin layers from each surface and MCLT is measured after each etch step. The thickness-removed ( at which the lifetime reaches a peak value corresponds to the damage depth. This technique also allows the damage to be quantified in terms of effective surface recombination velocity (Seff). To accomplish this, the MCLT data are converted into an Seff vs plot, which represents a quantitative distribution of the degree of damage within the surface layer. We describe a wafer preparation procedure to attain reproducible etching and MCLT measurement results. We also describe important characteristics of an etchant used for controllably removing thin layers from the wafer surfaces. Some typical results showing changes in the MCLT vs plots for different cutting parameters are given.
    Original languageAmerican English
    Number of pages6
    JournalReview of Scientific Instruments
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - 2016

    NREL Publication Number

    • NREL/JA-5J00-66320


    • dislocations
    • electron hole recombination
    • etching
    • passivation
    • slurries


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