By Bram Hoex, SPREE, University of New South Wales (UNSW)
The manufacturers of silicon wafer solar cells are constantly looking into cost-effective ways to increase the efficiency of their solar cells. Most of these enhancements result from incremental improvements and can be achieved by optimizing existing processes. However, it is widely recognized that in order to further improve the silicon wafer solar cell efficiency, new solar cell architectures are required. This will in turn require new manufacturing processes, which will typically involve new production equipment and consumables. New consumables can play an important role in the applicability or success of a new process step; in this paper a specific focus will be on the precursors used for the deposition of surface passivation films, such as silicon nitride and aluminium oxide.