Tuesday, December 13, 2011

US Patent 8075792 - Metal nanoparticle etchant for silicon surfaces


One way to improve the efficiency of silicon solar cells is to minimize the reflectivity of silicon surfaces. This patent from the Alliance for Sustainable Energy teaches a way to use gold or silver nanoparticles in an etching solution to roughen silicon surfaces and improve the efficiency of silicon solar cells. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of texturing a silicon surface, comprising:

positioning a substrate with a silicon surface in a vessel;

filling the vessel with a volume of an etching solution that covers the silicon surface of the substrate, wherein the etching solution comprises a catalytic nanomaterial and a oxidant-etchant solution comprising an etching agent and a silicon oxidizing agent; and

etching the silicon surface by agitating the etching solution in the vessel.