MACE nano-texture process applicable for both single- and multi-crystalline diamond-wire sawn Si solar cells
Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells
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The photovoltaic (PV) industry requires efficient cutting of large single and multi-crystalline (sc- and mc-) silicon (Si) wafers. Historically multi-wire slurry sawing (MWSS) dominated, but the higher productivity of diamond-wire-sawing (DWS) holds promise for decreasing PV costs in the future. While surface texturing of DWS wafers is more complicated than of MWSS wafers, especially in mc-Si wafers, nanotexturing has been shown to overcome this challenge. While the benefit of nanotexturing is thus clearer in mc-Si, a universal nano-texture process that also works on sc-Si would simplify and reduce the investments costs of PV production-lines. In this paper, such a nano-texture process is developed using a metal-assisted chemical etch (MACE) technique. Step-by-step characterization of surface structure and reflectance of the MACE process is used after: 1) wafering, 2) standard acidic texturing etch, 3) silver nanoparticles deposition, and 4) MACE nanotexturing for both sc and mc-Si. The results show that the same MACE process works effectively for both sc-Si and mc-Si wafers. Finally, the nano-textured wafers are processed into PV cells in an industrial process line with conversion efficiencies of 19.4% and 18.7%, for sc-Si and mc-Si solar cells, respectively.