Guidelines for establishing an etching procedure for dislocation density measurements on multicrystalline silicon samples
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionMethodsX. 2018, 5 1178-1186. 10.1016/j.mex.2018.09.013
With multicrystalline silicon becoming the main material used for photovoltaic applications and dislocations being one of the main material limitations to better solar cell efficiency, etch pit density measurements are gaining more importance. Traditionally, etch pit density measurements are based on selective etching of silicon samples. The majority of the etchants have been developed for monocrystalline samples with known orientation, while those developed for multicrystalline samples have been less investigated and might need some optimization. In this study, we use and compare the PVScan tool, which provides a quick way to assess dislocation density on selectively etched samples, and microscope image analysis. We show how the etching methods used for dislocation density measurements can affect the results, and we suggest how to optimize the Sopori etching procedure for multicrystalline silicon samples with high dislocation densities. We also show how the Sopori etchant can be used to substitute Secco while maintaining a high precision of dislocation density measurements, but without the toxic hexavalent chromium compounds.