Solar cells, like computer chips, are fabricated from semiconductor materials and assembled with conductive metals to carry electrical current. Cerium Labs has leveraged its expertise in semiconductor characterization and processing to offer in-depth analysis of solar cell structures. Cerium has a wide variety of analytical techniques used to investigate material composition, cell assembly and contamination for these emerging alternative energy devices.
Raw materials analysis
Purity of raw materials used for silicon solar cells can be analyzed by a series of bulk and surface analysis techniques. High resolution - inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (HR-ICPMS) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) measure surface metals and organics respectively. Neutron activation analyses (NAA) and secondary ion mass spectroscopy (SIMS) measure the purity of the bulk material. Cerium Labs is one of few commercial labs in the world to offer NAA services at a guaranteed price and reasonable turn time.
Cerium Labs provides support for process qualifications at start up and quality control in full production facilities. Cerium’s experience in facilities start up includes qualifying bulk chemical distribution systems, sampling air quality and testing ultra pure water. Process qualification and characterization of materials is done by electron imaging, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) or transmission electron microscopy (TEM), as well as surface analytical techniques such as x-ray diffraction or x-ray reflection (XRD, XRR), x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and secondary ion mass spectroscopy (SIMS).
Combining precision preparation by focused ion beam (FIB) with energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDS) or electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS), Cerium’s expert staff is able to reveal the chemical composition and the possible source of specific site failures.