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TCAD for PV: A fast method for accurately modelling metal impurity evolution during solar cell proce

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By Douglas M. Powell, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; David P. Fenning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Jasmin Hofstetter, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Jean-François Lelièvre, Instituto de Energía Solar, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid; Carlos del Cañizo, Instituto de Energía Solar, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid; Tonio Buonassisi, Heads the Photovoltaic Research Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Coupled device and process simulation tools, collectively known as technology computer-aided design (TCAD), have been used in the integrated circuit industry for over 30 years. These tools allow researchers to quickly home in on optimized device designs and manufacturing processes with minimal experimental expenditures.
The PV industry has been slower to adopt these tools, but is quickly developing competency in using them. This paper introduces a predictive defect engineering paradigm and simulation tool, while demonstrating its effectiveness at increasing the performance and throughput of current industrial processes. The impurity-to-efficiency (I2E) simulator is a coupled process and device simulation tool that links wafer material purity, processing parameters and cell design to device performance. The tool has been validated with experimental data and used successfully with partners in industry. The simulator has also been deployed in a free web-accessible applet, which is available for use by the industrial and academic communities.

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The 15th edition of Photovoltaics International hopes to bring some optimism to 2012 by tackling the key factors on how to cope with the current situation. Contributions come from MIT on using TCAD as a viable method for modelling metal impurity evolution; Alternative Energy Investing presents a comprehensive look at materials cost; and efficiency improvements are on offer by ECN. REC Solar and Tata BP Solar report on module lifetime and IMS Research gives us a brief rundown of 2012 global market expectations.

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