crystal reports qr code Project 20: Grow Your Own Silicon Crystals in Software

Printer QR Code in Software Project 20: Grow Your Own Silicon Crystals

Project 20: Grow Your Own Silicon Crystals
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Figure 10-9 Slicing eggs.
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Figure 10-7 Growing sugar crystals.
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Once this large crystal of silicon has been manufactured, it must be cut into slices to manufacture the solar cells. I like to think of this a bit like the way an egg is sliced to make sandwiches by an egg slicer see the analogy in Figures 10-9 and 10-10.
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time, crystals should start to grow pull the skewer up slowly, bit by bit, so that the growing crystal is still in contact with the sugar solution. This is just like the way that silicon is grown. The silicon is drawn up slowly from a bath of molten hot silicon (which is analogous to our saturated sugar solution). This is shown in Figure 10-8.
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Slice and dope your silicon crystals
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Slicing an egg with an egg slicer is much like the process that happens when a solar cell is manufactured. Each slice of silicon is then called a wafer. We now need to create a p n junction in the wafer; to do this phosphorus is diffused into the surface of the silicon. Dip your egg into some food coloring or beetroot juice, and you will see that the juice covers one surface of the egg slice. Now, imagine that slice of egg were a solar cell, with the beetroot-soaked face pointing toward the light. Imagine an electrical contact on either side of the egg slice is connected to our circuit. The photons
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Figure 10-8 Growing silicon crystals.
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Figure 10-10 Slicing silicon.
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hit the colored side, which is doped with phosphorus to produce some extra electrons. By giving these electrons additional energy from the photons, they are able to jump the gap, across to the boron doped silicon (the plain old egg) where they fill the holes where there are electrons missing from the atomic structure. With a steady stream of photons, hitting the cell, a heavy stream of electrons are encouraged to migrate across the p n junction, then travel around the circuit doing useful work! Now these cells can be integrated into larger modules, or even arrays, to produce more power.
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Project 21: Build Your Own Thin-Film Solar Cell
Figure 10-11 Doping with phosphorus.
Now we have looked at the technology of crystalline solar cells using silicon, let us turn our attention to thin-film solar cells.
Project 21: Build Your Own Thin-Film Solar Cell
Note
First of all a little disclaimer ... the solar cell you are about to build here is horribly, horribly inefficient. Please do not have any plans to use these to power your home. The amount of current that they produce is very small and not economically exploitable. While this is a shame, this project is very interesting, educational and helps you get to grips with the photoelectric effect.
Tools
Metal guillotine (optional) Bandsaw (optional) Tin snips Electric ring hob
First of all, cut a square of the copper sheeting so that it is about 6 8 in. square in size. It is much easier to do this with a metal guillotine (Figure 10-12); however, if you haven t got access to this sort of equipment, tin snips will work just fine. When you have done this, wash your hands thoroughly and dry them. You need to remove any grease or oil from your hands that could cause problems with the next step of the process. Remove any grease or detritus from the copper sheeting. Next, take a piece of emery cloth (see Figure 10-13), and thoroughly sand down the piece of copper on both sides to remove the top layer of oxidized copper.
You will need
Copper sheeting Clear Plexiglas/Perspex/acrylic sheeting Some thin wood strip Copper wire Duct tape
Project 21: Build Your Own Thin-Film Solar Cell
Figure 10-12 Cutting the copper with a guillotine.
This will leave you with nice bright shiny red copper underneath. You now need to heat treat the copper, in order to form an oxide coating on top. It may sound counterintuitive that we have just removed all the oxide and now we are going to put oxide back on, but the oxide coating we will be applying will be a film of cuprous oxide. You will need an electric hob to do this. If you have any heat proof gloves and metal tongs, this might be the time to get them in order to handle the metal while hot. You need to turn the burner to the highest setting, with the sheet of copper just placed on top. Observe the changes to the copper carefully, they are very interesting. As you heat the copper, it takes on a lovely vivid patina of different colors. Obviously, the pages here are black and white, so I can t show you, but if you look at Figure 10-14 a e you will see the changes that the plate goes through.
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