Investigation of lifetime-limiting defects after high-temperature phosphorus diffusion in high-iron-content multicrystalline silicon

David P. Fenning, Annika S. Zuschlag, Jasmin Hofstetter, Alexander Frey, Mariana Bertoni, Giso Hahn, Tonio Buonassisi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Phosphorus diffusion gettering of multicrystalline silicon solar cell materials generally fails to produce material with minority-carrier lifetimes that approach that of gettered monocrystalline wafers, due largely to higher levels of contamination with metal impurities and a higher density of structural defects. Higher gettering temperatures should speed the dissolution of precipitated metals by increasing their diffusivity and solubility in the bulk, potentially allowing for improved gettering. In this paper, we investigate the impact of gettering at higher temperatures on low-purity multicrystalline samples. To analyze the gettering response, we measure the spatially resolved lifetime and interstitial iron concentration by microwave photoconductance decay and photoluminescence imaging, and the structural defect density by Sopori etching and large-area automated quantification. Higher temperature phosphorus diffusion gettering is seen to improve metal-limited multicrystalline materials dramatically, especially in areas of low etch pit density. In areas of high as-grown dislocation density in the multicrystalline materials, it appears that higher temperature phosphorus diffusion gettering reduces the etch pit density, but leaves higher local concentrations of interstitial iron, which degrade lifetime.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6800148
Pages (from-to)866-873
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Journal of Photovoltaics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014



  • Dislocation density
  • iron gettering
  • minority-carrier lifetime
  • phosphorus diffusion
  • silicon solar cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics

Cite this