Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Mechanical Engineering

Major Professor

Ashok Kumar

Co-Major Professor

Sylvia Thomas


Crack depth, Crack location, Crack propagation, Efficiency, FIB


Solar cell business has been very critical and challenging since more efficient and low costs materials are required to decrease the costs and to increase the production yield for the amount of electrical energy converted from the Sun's energy. The silicon-based solar cell has proven to be the most efficient and cost-effective photovoltaic industrial device. However, the production cost of the solar cell increases due to the presence of cracks (internal as well as external) in the silicon wafer. The cracks of the wafer are monitored while fabricating the solar cell but the present monitoring techniques are not sufficient when trying to improve the manufacturing process of the solar cells. Attempts are made to understand the location of the cracks in single crystal and polycrystalline silicon solar cells, and analyze the impact of such cracks in the performance of the cell through Scanning Acoustic Microscopy (SAM) and Photoluminescence (PL) based techniques.

The features of the solar cell based on single crystal and polycrystalline silicon through PL and SAM were investigated with focused ion beam (FIB) cross section and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The results revealed that SAM could be a reliable method for visualization and understanding of cracks in the solar cells.

The efficiency of a solar cell was calculated using the current (I) - voltage (V) characteristics before and after cracking of the cell. The efficiency reduction ranging from 3.69% to 14.73% for single crystal, and polycrystalline samples highlighted the importance of the use of crack monitoring techniques as well as imaging techniques. The aims of the research are to improve the manufacturing process of solar cells by locating and understanding the crack in single crystal and polycrystalline silicon based devices.