We studied the precipitation of chromium in multicrystalline silicon during the crystallization process and temperature treatments typical for solar cell processing. A model which was already successfully used for simulating heterogeneous precipitation of iron is transferred to chromium, allowing two-dimensional simulations of dissolved chromium and precipitate density. The observed accordance with spatially resolved measurements demonstrates the similarity of chromium to iron precipitation and the ability of our model to predict the dissolved chromium concentration in multicrystalline silicon. After the crystallization process, a high impact of chromium on the carrier lifetime of wafers originating from an ingot intentionally contaminated with 20 ppma chromium in the melt was observed. The concentration of dissolved chromium was significantly reduced by phosphorus diffusion gettering or oxidation at 815°C. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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