Trace element analysis in crystalline silicon

Published: December 1, 2011

By Sylke Meyer; Susanne Richter; Matthias Balski; Christian Hagendorf

The reliable analysis of trace elements in silicon is of fundamental importance for the understanding of material properties and quality control of solar cells. This paper presents a demonstration of the power of two analytical techniques for the determination of trace elements in solar silicon: inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS). These techniques are among the few that achieve sufficiently low detection limits and they may complement each other because of their specific performance. Examples are given of the quantitative chemical analysis of boron, phosphorus and iron in different types of solar silicon, as well as of the enrichment of metals and alkali metals in Si3N4 precipitates.

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