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System for characterizing semiconductor materials and photovoltaic device

United States Patent

5,581,346
December 3, 1996
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
National Renewable Energy Laboratory - Visit the NREL Technology Transfer Website
Apparatus for detecting and mapping defects in the surfaces of polycrystalline material in a manner that distinguishes dislocation pits from grain boundaries includes a first laser of a first wavelength for illuminating a wide spot on the surface of the material, a second laser of a second relatively shorter wavelength for illuminating a relatively narrower spot on the surface of the material, a light integrating sphere with apertures for capturing light scattered by etched dislocation pits in an intermediate range away from specular reflection while allowing light scattered by etched grain boundaries in a near range from specular reflection to pass through, and optical detection devices for detecting and measuring intensities of the respective intermediate scattered light and near specular scattered light. A center blocking aperture or filter can be used to screen out specular reflected light, which would be reflected by nondefect portions of the polycrystalline material surface. An X-Y translation stage for mounting the polycrystalline material and signal processing and computer equipment accommodate raster mapping, recording, and displaying of respective dislocation and grain boundary defect densities. A special etch procedure is included, which prepares the polycrystalline material surface to produce distinguishable intermediate and near specular light scattering in patterns that have statistical relevance to the dislocation and grain boundary defect densities. A reflectance measurement of the piece of material is obtained by adding together the signals from the optical detection devices. In the case where the piece of material includes a photovoltaic device, the current induced in the device by the illuminating light can be measured with a current sensing amplifier after the light integrating sphere is moved away from the device.
Sopori; Bhushan L. (Denver, CO)
Midwest Research Institute (Kansas City, MO)
08/ 314,201
September 28, 1994
CONTRACTUAL ORIGIN OF THE INVENTION The United States Government has rights in this invention under Contract No. DE-AC36-83CH10093 between the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a Division of Midwest Research Institute.