Monocrystalline silicon is created by slowly pulling a monocrystalline silicon seed crystal out of melted monocrystalline silicon using the Czochralski method to form an ingot of silicon. A seed crystal is a small piece of silicon which is used as a foundation for the molten molecules. By having a foundation, the molten molecules are able to connect together faster to form an ingot. While the seed crystal is being withdrawn, it is rotated slowly and temperature is lowered slowly. This helps form the cylindrical shape until it has the right diameter which is when temperature remains constant.
Polycrystalline silicon is made through a simpler method. Instead of going through the slow and more expensive process of creating a single crystal, molten silicon is just put into a cast and cooled with a seed crystal. By using the casting method, the crystal surrounding the seed isn’t uniform and branches into many, smaller crystals, thus "polycrystalline".
Thin-film technologies reduce the amount of material required in creating the active material of solar cells. Most thin film solar cells are sandwiched between two panes of glass to make a module. Since silicon solar panels only use one pane of glass, thin film panels are approximately twice as heavy as crystalline silicon panels. The majority of thin film panels have significantly lower conversion efficiencies, lagging silicon by two to three percentage points.
Amorphous Thin Film
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