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The measurement of the effective carrier lifetime in silicon has a great
importance for material characterization in the photovoltaic field since carrier lifetime
represents a fundamental quality factor in solar cell production. Photoluminescence is a
technique that allows lifetime measurement at low injection level not affected by the
measurement artifacts (minority carrier trapping and the depletion-region modulation)
typically found in other techniques.
We have designed and constructed a device to calibrate and measure the
photoluminescence response of silicon solar cells. Then we have applied the quasisteady-
state photoluminescence technique (QSS-PL) to obtain the minority carrier
lifetime curve. The objective is to extend the available measurement range to obtain
additional information about surface recombination.