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n-type multicrystalline silicon for highefficiency solar cells

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By Stephan Riepe, Patricia Krenckel, Florian Schindler, Martin C. Schubert & Jan Benick, Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE), Freiburg, Germany

High-efficiency silicon solar cells require silicon wafers of high electrical quality as the base material. One advantage of n-type compared with p-type doped silicon is the smaller impact of many metal impurities on
the electrical material quality. This applies especially to n-type multicrystalline silicon ingots produced by the directional solidification process, with dissolved metal impurities typically introduced by the crucible system.

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This issue of Photovoltaics International focuses on the steady adoption of PERC as the technology of choice for providing a quick boost to cell performances. Our chief analyst, Finlay Colville, reports that PERC is a key driver for internal technology roadmaps of all silicon cell providers and is indirectly influencing the development of other technologies in competing n-type and thin-film segments. However, PERC is not without its drawbacks, and one of these is its increased susceptibility to light-induced degradation. Other highlights include ISC Konstanz on the future of back-contact technology and ECN on the development of a new technique for minimising recombination losses in silicon solar cells.

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