Nanoparticle-Based Etching of Silicon Surfaces

NREL (Inventor)

Research output: Patent


A method (300) of texturing silicon surfaces (116) such to reduce reflectivity of a silicon wafer (110) for use in solar cells. The method (300) includes filling (330, 340) a vessel (122) with a volume of an etching solution (124) so as to cover the silicon surface 116) of a wafer or substrate (112). The etching solution (124) is made up of a catalytic nanomaterial (140) and an oxidant-etchantsolution (146). The catalytic nanomaterial (140) may include gold or silver nanoparticles or noble metal nanoparticles, each of which may be a colloidal solution. The oxidant-etchant solution (146) includes an etching agent (142), such as hydrofluoric acid, and an oxidizing agent (144), such as hydrogen peroxide. Etching (350) is performed for a period of time including agitating or stirring theetching solution (124). The etch time may be selected such that the etched silicon surface (116) has a reflectivity of less than about 15 percent such as 1 to 10 percent in a 350 to 1000 nanometer wavelength range.
Original languageAmerican English
Patent number8,075,792
StatePublished - 2011

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PT-5200-53913


  • reflectivity
  • silicon surfaces
  • silicon wafer
  • solar cells


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