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Today's standard for tomorrow's materials. 2010 NANOVEA



SOLAR CELL SURFACE INSPECTION
WITH 3D METROLOGY




















Prepared by
Benjamin Mell





2


INTRO:

With the economy in its current tailspin and gas prices at record highs, the solar energy
industry has been called upon to provide solutions for our energy crisis. Global concerns
about the atmosphere and the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are other reasons
there has been a large acceleration of growth in the solar energy industry.

Solar cell production is increasing at just under 50% yearly. The overall price tag for the buyer
will be the most important factor for the solar energy industry to be successful. This task of
decreasing the overall cost to the consumer can be achieved, thus producing higher profits for
the solar cell manufacturer, only if the efficiency and quality of solar cell materials continues to
improve.


IMPORTANCE OF SURFACE METROLOGY INSPECTION FOR QUALITY CONTROL

Solar cell manufacturers are using profilometers for better control of trace line shape and
surface roughness, in order to improve yields and efficiencies that will ultimately reduce costs
and increase profits. Surface roughness is a vital parameter that influences the efficiency of
solar cells. Accurate surface metrology used to monitor certain process steps, for quality
control, will assist solar cell producers in amplifying yield and decreasing associated
manufacturing costs. Also, thorough analysis of various surface roughness parameters allows
an enhanced understanding of which characteristic of solar material topography indicates
important variations in efficiency.

Solar cell material that is somewhat rough on the surface will absorb more light than a
material with a very smooth surface, which will produce a higher efficiency and better
performance. The negative aspect of a surface that is too rough, however, is that this material
will scatter too much light, causing less absorption and a reduced efficiency. At the other end
of the spectrum, plastic and glass solar materials are made to have an extremely smooth
surface, in order to scatter and absorb the smallest amount of light possible.


MEASUREMENT OBJECTIVE

In this application, the Nanovea HS1000 is used to measure two different types of solar
material (photovoltaic material and glass) and calculate their respective surface roughness,
surface features and wafer bow. The shape of trace lines on the photovoltaic material will also
be measured. With a maximum stage speed of 1 meter per second, the HS1000, unlike stylus
profilometers, can easily handle high production throughput applications, where many
measurements are needed in quick fashion.








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MEASUREMENT SET-UP & TIPS:

For measuring this type of material, it is best to use a high-intensity Xenon light source. Our
optional high-intensity Xenon source produces a very intense light, which is extremely useful
when measuring photovoltaic material that is created for light absorption applications.

When measuring surface roughness, it is critical to measure with high lateral resolution (very
small step sizes between data points). This will produce the most accurate representation of
the surface roughness of the solar material.



MEASUREMENT PRINCIPLE:

The axial chromatism technique uses a white light source, where light passes through an
objective lens with a high degree of chromatic aberration. The refractive index of the
objective lens will vary in relation to the wavelength of the light. In effect, each separate
wavelength of the incident white light will re-focus at a different distance from the lens
(different height). When the measured sample is within the range of possible heights, a single
monochromatic point will be focalized to form the image. Due to the confocal configuration
of the system, only the focused wavelength will pass through the spatial filter with high
efficiency, thus causing all other wavelengths to be out of focus.





The spectral analysis is done using a diffraction grating. This technique deviates each
wavelength at a different position, intercepting a line of CCD, which in turn indicates the
position of the maximum intensity and allows direct correspondence to the Z height position.






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SURFACE ROUGHNESS PARAMETERS:


Height Parameter Definition
Ssk Skewness
Skewness of the height distribution

Ssk =

Skewness qualifies the symmetry of the height distribution. A negative Ssk indicates
that the surface is composed of mainly one plateau and deep and fine valleys. In this
case, the distribution is sloping to the top. A positive Ssk indicates a surface with a
lot of peaks on a plane. Therefore, the distribution is sloping to the bottom. Due to
the large exponent used, this parameter is very sensitive to the sampling and noise
of the measurement.
Sku Kurtosis
Kurtosis of the height distribution

Sku =

Kurtosis qualifies the flatness of the height distribution
Due to the large exponent used, this parameter is very sensitive to the sampling and
noise of the measurement.
Sq
Root Mean Square
Height
Standard deviation of the height distribution, or RMS surface roughness

Sq =

Computes the standard deviation for the amplitudes of the surface (RMS)
Sp Maximum Peak Height Height between the highest peak and the mean plane
Sv Maximum Pit Height Depth between the mean plane and the deepest valley
Sz Maximum Height Height between the highest peak and the deepest valley
Sa
Arithmetical Mean
Height
Mean surface roughness

Sa =












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TEST RESULTS:


SOLAR MATERIAL ROUGHNESS VALUES

Ssk Sku Sq Sp Sv Sz Sa
GLASS 0.0106 4.078 12.15 nm 74 nm 71.69 nm 145.7 nm 9.417 nm
PHOTOVOLTAIC 1.193 23.01 1.727 m 40.12 m 17.78 m 57.89 m 1.268 m



GLASS FALSE COLOR HEIGHT REPRESENTATION
nm
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
110
120
130
140
0 0.25 0.5 0.75 1 1.25 1.5 1.75 2 mm
mm
0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.8




GLASS EXTRACTED PROFILE
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 2 mm
nm
-60
-40
-20
0
20
40
60
80
Length =2 mm Pt =104.1 nm Scale =150 nm












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GLASS 3D SURFACE
nm
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
110
120
130
140



PHOTOVOLTAIC FALSE COLOR HEIGHT REPRESENTATION
m
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
50
55
0 0.25 0.5 0.75 1 1.25 1.5 1.75 2 mm
mm
0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.8
0.9
1












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PHOTOVOLTAIC EXTRACTED PROFILE

0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 2 mm
m
-6
-4
-2
0
2
4
6
Length =2 mm Pt =13.1 m Scale =15 m






PHOTOVOLTAIC 3D SURFACE

m
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
18
20
22
24
26
28
30
32
34
36
38
40
42
44
46
48
50
52
54
56













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PRINTED TRACE EXTRACTED PROFILE

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 mm
m
-15
-10
-5
0
5
10
15
20
25
Length =10 mm Pt =40.95 m Scale =45 m



PRINTED TRACE PITCH MEASUREMENT

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 mm
m
-15
-10
-5
0
5
10
15
20
25
0 1 2 3

Horizontal Distance: 0-1 = 2.514mm 2-3 = 2.54mm


PRINTED TRACE HEIGHT MEASUREMENT


0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 mm
m
-15
-10
-5
0
5
10
15
20
25
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7


Height Difference: 0-1 = 21.03m 2-3 = 26.12m 4-5 = 27.57m 6-7 = 26.73m





PRINTED TRACE WIDTH MEASUREMENT (ZOOMED ON TWO TRACE LINES)


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0 0.25 0.5 0.75 1 1.25 1.5 1.75 2 2.25 2.5 2.75 3 mm
m
-10
-5
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
0 1 2 3

Horizontal Distance: 0-1 = 168.9m 2-3 = 201.4m


PRINTED TRACE FALSE COLOR HEIGHT REPRESENTATION

PRINTED TRACE 3D SURFACE




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PYRAMID STRUCTURES COMMONLY FOUND ON PHOTOVOLTAIC MATERIALS


3D REPRESENTATION OF WAFER BOWING



mm
0
0.05
0.1
0.15
0.2
0.25
0.3
0.35
0.4
0.45
0.5
0.55
0.6
0.65
0.7
0.75
0.8





m
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
0 25 50 75 100 125 150 175 200 m
m
0
25
50
75
100
125
150
175
200
m
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
0 25 50 75 100 125 150 175 200 m
m
0
25
50
75
100
125
150
175
200


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TEST DISCUSSION:

From the surface roughness parameters, it can be observed that, as expected, the glass surface
was much smoother than the photovoltaic material surface. As stated previously, glass solar
material is as smooth as possible to avoid scattering and absorption of light. The printed trace
lines can quickly and easily be measured for height, width, and pitch. All of these
measurements are very significant quality control inspections needed to evolve and improve
solar cell efficiency and performance.

CONCLUSION:

The HS1000 can be used to provide precise measurements at multiple stages within solar
manufacturing. Due to the superior measurement technique of Nanoveas Profilometers, light
absorbing materials can easily be measured along with the flexibility to measure glass
roughness and wafer bowing; all with a single non-contact instrument.

These measurements can be automated by creating and running a Macro measurement in the
Nanovea 3D Software for a quick and very efficient method in which to measure a large
quantity of materials (samples).

Monitoring surface roughness, feature dimensions and flatness of solar cell material are
extremely useful for quality control inspection and regulating the various production
processes. The Nanovea HS1000 is a perfect choice for quality control inspections of the
surface of solar materials, which can lead to higher efficiencies and increased profits for solar
cell manufacturers.