Material Technology

Silicon production

Silicon, the second-most abundant element in the earth's crust, is crucial for our technology-driven society. Silicon gives us computers, smartphones, solar cells, and light-emitting devices. The element is a component in an inexhaustible list of advanced materials that we depend on in our daily lives. Norwegian industry is in a special position when it comes to production of high-quality silicon materials.

Foss, Sean Erik

Head of Department

Klette, Hallgeir

Senior Engineer


IFE has for more than ten years been developing technology to produce high-quality silicon products from silane gas, in the Laboratory for Silicon Production. Silane is a high-purity gas that contains only silicon and hydrogen, and using methods available at IFE we can remove the hydrogen and we are remaining with silicon of very high purity. The equipment at IFE is capable of making silicon with specific properties, which can be suitable for different applications.

High purity silicon can be used in solar cells, and IFE is developing technology together with partners to maximise the purity and the quality of the material, but reduce the energy use and environmental impact. The materials and solar cells made from silicon can be tested in the Solar Cell Laboratory.

Silicon nanoparticles and silicon composites can be used as a powerful anode material in lithium ion batteries. IFE is in several different projects developing such materials, and together with the Battery Materials Laboratory

Together with our customers, we develop:

  • Production methods for solar grade silicon
  • Silicon and composite products for high capacity Li-ion batteries
  • Silicon materials and composites for other purposes
  • Pilot-scale processing technology systems with safe handling and use of hazardous gases

Possible topics for research projects and collaborations:

  • Testing of new silicon production technology
  • Testing of nano-structured silicon for various applications
  • Testing of solar grade silicon for solar cells
  • Characterization of silane gas and other feedstock
  • Materials characterization of silicon with regards to purity and nanostructure
  • Development of advanced composite materials with silicon
  • Modeling of reactor technologies using own, specialized CFD software

Silisium. Trygve Mongstad og Thomas Preston

Research area manager Trygve Mongstad and silane chemistry researcher Thomas Preston discussing different silicon materials from IFE. (Photo: Guro Marie Wyller)