*Marit Stange, Runar Dahl-Hansen,Tor Olav Sunde, Alexander Ulyashin, SINTEF, Oslo, Norway
SINTEF is developing a technology for high-rate deposition of silicon which can be used for preparing drop-in replacement wafers for solar cells without material losses related to sawing of a silicon ingot, in addition to making thinner silicon films than can be prepared by sawing. The technology is based on electron-beam (E-beam) deposition at 1000 °C, which is an alternative approach, with several advantages, compared to the more established CVD-process. E-beam avoids use of toxic and explosive gases, which eliminates the need for complex and expensive infrastructure. It also has the potential to provide higher deposition rates and throughput, thereby further lowering the cost. Epitaxial silicon films with good electrical properties can be deposited at 1000 °C (45–120 mm thick, ~1.5 mm/min deposition rate). Electron Backscattering Diffraction (EBSD) shows that the growth proceeds epitaxially on the seed layer. Crystallinity and stress in the material upon crystallization was analyzed by Raman spectroscopy. Although defects were revealed by Secco etch experiments, the properties were good enough to be considered as a promising alternative to CVD-grown Si.