European Commission
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Kerfless layer-transfer of thin epitaxial silicon foils using novel multiple layer porous silicon stacks with near 100% detachment yield and large minority carrier diffusion lengths
Hariharsudan Sivaramakrishnan Radhakrishnana, Roberto Martinia, Valerie Depauwa, Kris Van Nieuwenhuysena, Twan Beardaa, Ivan Gordona, Jozef Szlufcika, Jef Poortmansa

Two important aspects for the success of the porous silicon-based layer transfer method in producing kerfless thin (<50 µm) silicon foils for future silicon solar modules are addressed in this work: achieving high detachment yield and high minority carrier diffusion lengths. The detachment characteristics of the porous silicon-based lift-off process is studied using finite element modeling as well as experiments. It is shown that for easy detachment and high detachment yield, a low density of thin silicon pillars must be attained in the high porosity detachment layer (HP-DL) after high temperature sintering. This is elegantly achieved by increasing the thickness of the low porosity template layer (LP-TL) which acts as the vacancy supply to increase the post-anneal porosity of the HP-DL. In this way, near 100% detachment yield has been achieved. However, a thicker LP-TL results in a poorer quality epitaxial growth surface. To circumvent this trade-off, novel triple and quadruple layer porous silicon stacks are introduced which decouple the function of the LP-TL that acts as both the template for epitaxy and as the vacancy supply for the HP-DL. In these new stacks, a surface zone of very low void size and density (nearly void-free) is created which allows high quality epitaxy on easily-detachable porous silicon stacks. Minority carrier lifetime measurements on epitaxial foils grown on such a triple layer stack has resulted in an effective lifetime of ~350 µs at the injection level of 1015 cm−3 which corresponds to a minimum minority carrier diffusion length of ~670 µm (> 16 times the silicon thickness). With such high quality epitaxial foils combined with high detachment yield, very high efficiency solar devices on thin silicon substrates would be a reality in the near future.

Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells 2015, 135, p. 113 - 123
doi: 10.1016/j.solmat.2014.10.049