Low cost silicon solar array project silicon materials task: Establishment of the feasibility of a process capable of low-cost, high volume production of silane (step 1) and the pyrolysis of silane to semiconductor-grade silicon (step 2)


A quartz fluid bed reactor capable of operating at temperatures of up to 1000 C was designed, constructed, and successfully operated. During a 30 minute experiment, silane was decomposed within the reactor with no pyrolysis occurring on the reactor wall or on the gas injection system. A hammer mill/roller-crusher system appeared to be the most practical method for producing seed material from bulk silicon. No measurable impurities were detected in the silicon powder produced by the free space reactor, using the cathode layer emission spectroscopic technique. Impurity concentration followed by emission spectroscopic examination of the residue indicated a total impurity level of 2 micrograms/gram. A pellet cast from this powder had an electrical resistivity of 35 to 45 ohm-cm and P-type conductivity

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