Crystalline Silicon (c-Si)

Crystalline silicon (c-Si) is the leading commercial material for photovoltaic cells, and is used in several forms: single-crystalline or monocrystalline silicon, multicrystalline or polycrystalline silicon, ribbon and sheet silicon and thin-layer silicon.

Common techniques for the production of crystalline silicon include the Czochralski (CZ) method, float-zone (FZ) method, and other methods such as casting and die or wire pulling. The removal of impurities and defects in the silicon is of critical importance, and is addressed with techniques such as surface passivation (reacting the surface with hydrogen) and gettering (a chemical heat treatment that causes impurities to diffuse out of the silicon). Also at issue as the industry grows is the availability and purity of the solar-grade silicon feedstock.

Although crystalline silicon solar cells have been in existence since 1954, new innovations continue to be developed, including the emitter wrap-through (EWT) cell and the self-aligned selective-emitter (SASE) cell.

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