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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26210

Title: Characterization of the Cu-Si System and Utilization of Metallurgical Techniques in Silicon Refining for Solar Cell Applications
Authors: Mitrasinovic, Aleksandar
Advisor: Torstein, Utigard
Department: Materials Science and Engineering
Keywords: Silicon
Impurity removal
Solar Si
Cu-Si alloy
Issue Date: 17-Feb-2011
Abstract: Two methods for refining metallurgical grade silicon to solar grade silicon have been investigated. The first method involved the reduction of impurities from metallurgical grade silicon by high temperature vacuum refining. The concentrations of analyzed elements were reduced several times. The main steps in the second refining method include alloying with copper, solidification, grinding and heavy media separation. A metallographic study of the Si-Cu alloy showed the presence of only two microconstituents, mainly pure silicon dendrites and the Cu3Si intermetallic. SEM analysis showed a distinct boundary between the silicon and the Cu3Si phases, with a large concentration of microcracks along the boundary, which allowed for efficient separation. After alloying and grinding, a heavy media liquid was used to separate the light silicon phase from the heavier Cu3Si phase. Cu3Si residues together with the remaining impurities were found to be located at the surface of the pure silicon particles, and should be efficiently removed by acid leaching. Thirty elements were analyzed by the Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP) chemical analysis technique. ICP revealed a several times higher impurity level in the Cu3Si intermetallic than in the pure silicon; furthermore, the amounts of 22 elements in the refined silicon were reduced below the detection limit where the concentrations of 7 elements were below 1ppmw and 6 elements were below 2ppmw. The results showed that the suggested method is efficient in removing impurities from metallurgical grade silicon with great potential for further development.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26210
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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