Norway is one of the major producers of silicon in the world. During the last decade Norway has also become the leading supplier of silicon wafers and solar cells. The solar cell industry has experienced a large growth and so has the Norwegian technologic al institutes in this field. The solar cell industry is looking worldwide for new technologies for improving the solar cell performance. One of the new ideas to increase the efficiency of silicon solar cells is using isotopically pure 28Si. Little has bee n reported in the scientific literature regarding the effects of using such silicon on silicon substrates in solar cells. Initial studies indicate a large increase in the lifetime of charge carriers. Further study of the effect and the material properties is required to understand and explain the observed increase in lifetime.
Use of 28Si has been prohibited by low availability of the material and a corresponding high price. Isosilicon is aiming at supplying 28Si as silane at a reasonable price. The compa ny?s isotope separation technology, when implemented industrially, will hopefully offer the industry the possibility of increasing the solar cell efficiency by 5 to 10% relative to todays figures. This project is aiming at fulfilling this goal. It is divi ded in two parts:
- Study of the effect of material properties and use of 28si in solar cells, performed at IFE, Kjeller, Norway
- Improvment of the separation process, performed by Novasep sas, Pompey, France.