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Comment Processing & Handling

New polysilicon granule-drying system boosts processing yields and purity

By Scott Jenkins |

A novel cold-dry process makes possible the utilization of fine form-factor silicon, such as granules and sand-like fines, in the production of high-purity polysilicon for solar photovoltaic cells and semiconductors, where such fine-grained material would normally have to be sent back up the supply chain rather than into the crucible. The patent-pending drying system, known as FlashDry, was developed by MEI LLC (Albany, Ore.; www.meillc.com) and is a critical component of a new wet-processing suite for ultrapure polysilicon. The effectiveness of the drying scheme means polysilicon makers can chemically etch, rinse and dry granular silicon, which increases yields while maintaining ultrahigh purity. “Tiny particles of silicon were thought to be impossible to dry fully in large quantities,” explains David Gibbel, development engineering manager at MEI. “FlashDry opens the door to etching fine and granular polysilicon, as well as reclaimed scrap silicon material, since it can effectively and rapidly dry the etched and rinsed polysilicon.” When melting silicon in the production of high-purity material for use in photovoltaic cells and semiconductors, manufacturers try to add granular silicon to Czochralski crucibles…
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