Crystalline silicon solar cells are currently the leading technology in the photovoltaic market with no great expectable change in the shares. The scientific community works on the further development and improvements of state-of-the-art as well as new solar cell materials. This paper reports on a chemical methodology for selective etching to study the metallization step in monocrystalline silicon solar cells. The object of study is a complete processed silicon solar cell which was cleaved via laser beam on the back side and broken per hand to obtain stripes of the size 15.6×1 cm2. In the following a sequence of etching chemical solutions to selectively remove the components of the front side silver contact was applied. Scanning electron microscopy was used to investigate contact interface after each etching step. The silver finger, the glass and the silver crystallites grown in silicon could be removed. It came out that the silver crystallites preferably grow at the pyramid tips and edges of the textured wafer. A characterization with Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectrometry was performed to quantify the components of the silver contact after each chemical etching step. While the weight percentage of silver reduced by more than 90% after an aqua regia treatment, it increased by 13% after hydrofluoric acid. Silver was practically eliminated after a second aqua regia bath. Similarly, the content of glass was also determined. The approach serves for interface investigations in semiconductor technology where screen printing approaches are used for the metallization.
Ferrada, P., Portillo, C., Cabrera, E., Kopecek, R., Poncebustos, M., Kogan, M. J., Del Campo, V., & Fuentealba, E. (2015). Selective chemical etching for studying the front side contact in thick film screen printed crystalline P-Type silicon solar cells. Journal of the Chilean Chemical Society, 2905-2910. https://doi.org/10.4067/S0717-97072015000200009