All Research & Academia Semiconductors & Electronics

On the way to the era of renewable energy

Solar energy represents a mainstream technology for renewable energy and offers long-term benefits for sustainability, reduced pollution, and climate change mitigation. New hydrogen fuel cell technologies even increase the importance of Silicon based solar cells as a key to produce “green” hydrogen by electrolysis. But also, solar thermal technology gains in relevance, e.g. for efficient hot water generation.

Ongoing efforts are spurred to further improve photovoltaics efficiency. Besides the cell design, fine-tuning the raw materials quality (single- or polycrystalline Silicon) is a major path to higher power and lower cost. FTIR spectroscopy is an ideal tool for high sensitivity Silicon analysis, and Bruker supports industries and research communities to ensure and improve quality and purity.

For Si manufacturers, determination of Carbon, Oxygen and “shallow impurities” (e.g. B, P…) is fundamental. The Bruker CryoSAS is the fully automated industrial standard for this sophisticated low temperature QC of solar grade or electronic grade Silicon. Its impressive sensitivity down to the ppb/ppt range, easy workflow, and cryogen free low temperature technology result in significant reduction of personnel and running costs. Even better sensitivity (< 1 ppt) for shallow impurities can be achieved by low temperature near IR photoluminescence (PL), using a Bruker VERTEX 80 spectrometer with dedicated PL module and automated, cryogen free cryostat.

Bruker CryoSAS for fully automated silicon QC in industry (left) and VERTEX research spectrometer with a PL II photoluminescence module and automated cryogen-free cryostat (right).

For wafer and solar cell manufacturers, Bruker’s SiBrickScan (SBS) can determine the Oxygen gradient in complete Si ingots with high sensitivity and accuracy. This at-line system provides valuable control of the Si crystallization process, saving money and energy by early scrap material identification without thin sample preparation.

Last but not least, also for the characterization of solar thermal coatings, Bruker offers FTIR based (e.g. VERTEX or INVENIO) solutions for emissivity determination, which is a direct measure of how efficient solar radiation can be converted into heat.