Seeding better efficiencies in monocrystalline silicon solar cells

February 4, 2016

Researchers at MANA have developed a single-seed silicon cast method. Compared with conventional casting, the new method enables dramatic improvements in the crystalline quality of the silicon that are expected to improve the efficiency of silicon solar cells.

The conversion efficiency of that are the mainstream of commercial photovoltaics is now going to reach 20 percent using single crystalline silicon. Increasing brings higher value to solar cells. However, it is not possible to achieve such high efficiencies using conventional cast multicrystalline silicon. Furthermore, since semiconductor-grade single crystal silicon is too expensive for solar cells, there is a strong demand for the development of a third type of silicon as an alternative to multicrystalline and single-crystalline semiconductor types.

As a solution to this problem, a research team has developed the so-called single-seed cast method using a seed crystal for the silicon cast method. The researchers succeeded in producing high-quality, low impurity ingots of single crystal silicon (mono-silicon).

The new method consists of dissolving silicon feedstock inside a crucible and growing single crystalline silicon from a small seed. Notably, production costs can be reduced by this method compared with the method to produce dislocation-free single crystal silicon such as Czochralski method.

Importantly, solar cells produced using the new ingots yielded conversion efficiencies of 18.7 percent, which approach the value of 18.9 percent obtained with cells produced from semiconductor-silicon (CZ silicon) wafers.

In the future, further reductions of crystalline defects and impurities are expected to yield conversion efficiencies greater than 20 percent.

Explore further: High-quality mono-silicon crystal grown at low cost for solar cells

More information: Yoshiji Miyamura et al. Advantage in solar cell efficiency of high-quality seed cast mono Si ingot, Applied Physics Express (2015). DOI: 10.7567/APEX.8.062301

Related Stories

New efficiency record set with dual-junction solar cell

January 6, 2016

Scientists at the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and at the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM) have jointly set a new world record for converting non-concentrated (1-sun) ...

Simplifying solar cells with a new mix of materials

January 27, 2016

An international research team has simplified the steps to create highly efficient silicon solar cells by applying a new mix of materials to a standard design. Arrays of solar cells are used in solar panels to convert sunlight ...

Recommended for you

Changing semiconductor properties at room temperature

October 28, 2016

It's a small change that makes a big difference. Researchers have developed a method that uses a one-degree change in temperature to alter the color of light that a semiconductor emits. The method, which uses a thin-film ...

Novel light sources made of 2-D materials

October 28, 2016

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs, which are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal ...

Shocks in the early universe could be detectable today

October 27, 2016

(—Physicists have discovered a surprising consequence of a widely supported model of the early universe: according to the model, tiny cosmological perturbations produced shocks in the radiation fluid just a fraction ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.