Export file:


  • RIS(for EndNote,Reference Manager,ProCite)
  • BibTex
  • Text


  • Citation Only
  • Citation and Abstract

Surface characteristics and damage distributions of diamond wire sawn wafers for silicon solar cells

1 National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO 80401, USA
2 New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, NJ 07102, USA

Topical Section: The solar cell

This paper describes surface characteristics, in terms of its morphology, roughness and near-surface damage of Si wafers cut by diamond wire sawing (DWS) of Si ingots under different cutting conditions. Diamond wire sawn Si wafers exhibit nearly-periodic surface features of different spatial wavelengths, which correspond to kinematics of various movements during wafering, such as ingot feed, wire reciprocation, and wire snap. The surface damage occurs in the form of frozen-in dislocations, phase changes, and microcracks. The in-depth damage was determined by conventional methods such as TEM, SEM and angle-polishing/defect-etching. However, because these methods only provide local information, we have also applied a new technique that determines average damage depth over a large area. This technique uses sequential measurement of the minority carrier lifetime after etching thin layers from the surfaces. The lateral spatial damage variations, which seem to be mainly related to wire reciprocation process, were observed by photoluminescence and minority carrier lifetime mapping. Our results show a strong correlation of damage depth on the diamond grit size and wire usage.
  Article Metrics

Keywords sawing damage; diamond wire sawing; silicon wafers

Citation: Bhushan Sopori, Srinivas Devayajanam, Prakash Basnyat. Surface characteristics and damage distributions of diamond wire sawn wafers for silicon solar cells. AIMS Materials Science, 2016, 3(2): 669-685. doi: 10.3934/matersci.2016.2.669


  • 1. Clark W, Shih A, Hardin C, et al. (2003) Fixed abrasive diamond wire machining—part I: process monitoring and wire tension force. Int J Mach Tool Manu 43: 523–532.    
  • 2. Yu X, Wang P, Li X, et al. (2012) Thin Czochralski silicon solar cells based on diamond wire sawing technology. Sol Energ Mater Sol C 98: 337–342.    
  • 3. Möller H (2006) Wafering of silicon crystals. Phys Stat Sol 203: 659–669.    
  • 4. Sopori B, Devayajanam S, Shet S, et al. (2013) Characterizing damage on Si wafer surfaces cut by slurry and diamond wire sawing. Proceedings of 39th IEEE PVSC 2013, Tampa, Florida, pp. 0945–0950.
  • 5. Sopori B, Basnyat P, Devayajanam S, et al. (2015) Analyses of diamond wire sawn wafers: Effect of various cutting parameters. Proceedings of 42nd IEEE PVSC 2015, New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • 6. De Meyer C, Heim B, Riddle Y (2012) Diamond wire wafering: A tutorial, 22nd Silicon Workshop, July 22–25, 2012, Vail, Colorado, USA.
  • 7. Bidiville A, Wasmer K, Kraft R, et al. (2009) Diamond wire-sawn silicon wafers – from the lab to the cell production. Presented at the 24th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition, 21–25 September 2009, Hamburg, Germany, pp. 1400–1405.
  • 8. Teomete E (2008) Mechanics of wire saw machining process: experimental analyses and modeling, Ph. D. thesis, Iowa State University.
  • 9. Sopori B, Devayajanam S, Basnyat P (2015) Using minority carrier lifetime measurement to determine saw damage characteristics on Si wafer surfaces. Proceedings of 42nd IEEE PVSC 2015, New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • 10. Wurzner S, Buchwald R, Mӧller H (2015) Surface damage and mechanical strength of silicon wafers. Phys Status Solidi C 12: 1119–1122.    
  • 11. Arif M, Rahman M, San W (2012) A state-of-the-art review of ductile cutting of silicon wafers for semiconductor and microelectronics industries. Int J Adv Manuf Technol 63:481–504.    
  • 12. Blake P, Scattergood R (1990) Ductile- regime machining of germanium and silicon. J Am Ceram Soc 73: 949–957.    
  • 13. Ravindra D, Virkar S, Patten J (2011) Ductile mode micro laser assisted machining of silicon carbide in properties and applications of silicon carbide, Edited by Rosario Gerhardt, ISBN 978-953-307-201-2, 546 pages, Publisher: InTech, Chapters published.
  • 14. Bidiville A, Wasmer K, Meer M, et al. (2015) Wire-sawing processes: parametrical study and modeling. Sol Energ Mater Sol C 132: 392–402.    
  • 15. Donmich V, Gogotsi Y (2002) Phase transformation in silicon under contact loading. Rev Adv Mater Sci 3: 1–36.    
  • 16. Sopori B, Devayajanam S, Basnyat P (2016) A method for determining average damage depth of sawn crystalline silicon wafers. Rev Sc Inst 87: 45104.    
  • 17. Sopori B, Devayajanam S, Basnyat P, et al. (2015) Surface damage introduced by diamond wire sawing of Si wafers: Measuring in-depth and the lateral distributions for different cutting parameters. Mater Res Soc Symp Proc 1770: 61–66.    
  • 18. Choi C, Lee J, Cho S, et al. (1998) Evaluation of mechanical damage by high resolution X-ray diffraction and minority carrier lifetime. J Appl Phys 84: 168–173.    
  • 19. Watanabe N, Kondo Y, Idle D, et al. (2010) Characterization of polycrystalline silicon wafers for solar cells sliced with novel fixed-abrasive wire. Prog Photovolt Res Appl 18: 485–490.    
  • 20. Sopori B (1980) Rapid nondestructive technique for monitoring polishing damage in semiconductor wafers. Rev Sc Inst 50: 1513–1515.
  • 21. Park H, Kwon S, Lee J, et al. (2009) Improvement on surface texturing of single crystalline silicon for solar cells by saw-damage etching using an acidic solution. Sol Energ Mater Sol C 93: 1773–1778.


This article has been cited by

  • 1. Florian Buchholz, Pirmin Preis, Haifeng Chu, Jan Lossen, Eckard Wefringhaus, Progress in the development of industrial nPERT cells, Energy Procedia, 2017, 124, 649, 10.1016/j.egypro.2017.09.276
  • 2. Maria G. Tsoutsouva, Thècle Riberi-Béridot, Gabrielle Regula, Guillaume Reinhart, José Baruchel, Nathalie Mangelinck-Noël, In Situ Imaging of Dislocation Expansion in FZ-Si Seeds During Temperature Ramp Heating Process, physica status solidi (a), 2018, 1700758, 10.1002/pssa.201700758
  • 3. Halubai Sekhar, Tetsuo Fukuda, Katsuto Tanahashi, Katsuhiko Shirasawa, Hidetaka Takato, Kazuya Ohkubo, Hiromichi Ono, Yoshiyuki Sampei, Tsubasa Kobayashi, The impact of subsurface damage on the fracture strength of diamond-wire-sawn monocrystalline silicon wafers, Japanese Journal of Applied Physics, 2018, 57, 8S3, 08RB08, 10.7567/JJAP.57.08RB08
  • 4. Halubai Sekhar, Tetsuo Fukuda, Katsuto Tanahashi, Katsuhiko Shirasawa, Hidetaka Takato, Kazuya Ohkubo, Hiromichi Ono, Yoshiyuki Sampei, Tsubasa Kobayashi, The impact of saw mark direction on the fracture strength of thin (120 µm) monocrystalline silicon wafers for photovoltaic cells, Japanese Journal of Applied Physics, 2018, 57, 9, 095501, 10.7567/JJAP.57.095501
  • 5. Pengfei Zhang, Hengchao Sun, Ke Tao, Rui Jia, Guoyu Su, Xiaowan Dai, Zhi Jin, Xinyu Liu, An 18.9% efficient black silicon solar cell achieved through control of pretreatment of Ag/Cu MACE, Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Electronics, 2019, 10.1007/s10854-019-01189-0
  • 6. Lamprini Papargyri, Marios Theristis, Bernhard Kubicek, Thomas Krametz, Christoph Mayr, Panos Papanastasiou, George E. Georghiou, Modelling and experimental investigations of microcracks in crystalline silicon photovoltaics: A review, Renewable Energy, 2019, 10.1016/j.renene.2019.07.138
  • 7. Youkang Yin, Yufei Gao, Xinying Li, Tianzhao Pu, Liyuan Wang, Experimental study on slicing photovoltaic polycrystalline silicon with diamond wire saw, Materials Science in Semiconductor Processing, 2020, 106, 104779, 10.1016/j.mssp.2019.104779
  • 8. Mu-joong Kim, Kwan Hong Min, Sungeun Park, Hee-eun Song, Jeong In Lee, Kyung Taek Jeong, Jin-seong Park, Min Gu Kang, Study on efficiency improvement of multi-crystalline silicon solar cell by removing by-product and plasma induced damage generated during reactive ion etching, Current Applied Physics, 2020, 10.1016/j.cap.2020.01.013
  • 9. Xiaowei Wu, Yi Tan, Jiayan Li, Min Cai, Pengting Li, Surface damage and metal-catalyzed chemical etching investigation of multicrystalline silicon by diamond wire sawing, Solar Energy, 2020, 207, 609, 10.1016/j.solener.2020.07.019

Reader Comments

your name: *   your email: *  

Copyright Info: 2016, Bhushan Sopori, et al., licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licese (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)

Download full text in PDF

Export Citation

Copyright © AIMS Press All Rights Reserved