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pd12ing03

In photovoltaic industry, silica crucible has an important influence on the quality of single crystal silicon. To obtain a silica glass crucible with large diameter, high uniformity, and low bubble content, two series of crucibles were prepared by the arc melting method, one with various melting parameters (initial power, melting power, and melting time) and crucible sizes, and the other with various high purity quartz crucible. The bubbles inside the crucible wall and pores on the inner surface were all measured using a polarised optical microscope and a portable microscope. The results show that all crucibles have a bubble aggregation area in their inner surface (0–0.4 mm), in which the density and size of bubbles are affected by melting time, melting power, and the distance between the crucible and the graphite electrode. The uniformity of the crucible decreases as the crucible diameter increases (16–28 inches), and the crucible is relatively stable when the initial power is below 400 kW. In final, a silica crucible with large size (diameter of 28 inches) and low bubble content on inner surface (~50% reduction than that of traditional crucibles) was successfully prepared, which is of great value to the photovoltaic industry.


Currently, the primary materials for fabrication of solar cells are polycrystalline silicon and monocrystalline silicon, with a market share greater than 85% [1]. Solar cells with higher efficiency can be fabricated from monocrystalline silicon, which is usually obtained using the Czochralski (Cz) method [2, 3]. The silica crucibles used in the Cz method are typically made from high-purity amorphous silica. In general, these crucibles consist of two different layers: a transparent layer (Almost bubble free) and a bubble-containing layer (BC layer) [4]. In the outer BC layer, the material contains many bubbles, which decrease transparency. The composition of the gas inside the bubbles remains a matter of debate. It is most likely air, perhaps containing traces of carbon, or water vapour [5]. The inner transparent layer is almost completely transparent, and because this layer is in direct contact with the silicon melt, it is important to keep it free from bubbles throughout the Cz process to ensure that fewer bubbles are released into the melt and subsequently into the silicon ingot.