Start-up Sol Voltaics has unveiled ‘SolInk’, which is claimed to be an economical nanomaterial that promises to increase the efficiency of crystalline silicon or thin-film solar modules by up to 25% or more. Gallium arsenide nanowires are fabricated via a high-throughput process called ‘Aerotaxy’ invented by company founder and Lund University professor Lars Samuelson.
PSE AG has developed a new test stand, Degratest Labtool, designed for the testing of the light-induced degradation (LID) effect on silicon solar cells. The testing technology monitors and records degradation effects, and offers manufacturers and research institutions a fast and reliable tool for testing and developing solar cells. The LID test system was developed at ISC Konstance.
Datapaq has launched a tailored version of its SolarPaq temperature profiling system for contact paste drying processes.
Scanlab has broadened its offering with ‘SCANalign,’ a vision system tailored specifically to the demands of laser processing steps used in solar cell fabrication steps.
Meyer Burger’s patented ‘SmartWire Connection Technology’ (SWCT) is designed to replace conventional silver-based busbars on solar cells using thin copper wires on both sides of the cell. Typically, 30 very fine copper wires are used for cell connection generating up to 2,000 contact points per cell that provide 5% higher power output compared to best-in-class 3BB (three busbar) technology, while reducing production costs.
SoLayTec has introduced its InPassion ALD (Atomic Layer Deposition) tool for depositing Al2O3 in mass production. Al2O3 is well known in the PV community for highly effective surface passivation properties and negative fixed charge density, which is required for thinner wafer usage. InPassion ALD tool is capable of processing up to 4,500 wph.
With the SamBa series of low-light cameras, Sensovation is able to offer sensitivity in the near-IR range at high speed that enables industrial testing applications such as electroluminescence imaging of solar sells and modules. SamBa Ci is a 2 MPixel, high sensitivity camera optimised for high-throughput EL-based inspection.
The ‘Safire’ firing furnace, together with the ‘DriTech’ dryer, were designed by Despatch Industries to provide PV manufacturers with the ability to properly segment, control and adjust key process parameters. The Safire design features dual, independent chambers with no lane-to-lane influences that are claimed to provide the greatest degree of firing repeatability and capability for cell efficiency optimisation.
ISRA SOLAR VISION, a business unit of ISRA VISION AG, is featuring a new generation of contactless photoluminescence (PL) inspection systems, including the high-accuracy, high-speed inspection of solar cells and wafers. The new SOLARSCAN-YIELDMASTER PL is claimed to provide the industry’s fastest contactless photoluminescence inspection with the lowest false detection rates and the most accurate defect classification for the mass production of solar cells.
DuPont Microcircuit Materials (MCM) has introduced its next-generation frontside metallization pastes for crystalline silicon solar cells. ‘DuPont Solamet PV18x’ series photovoltaic metallization pastes are claimed to offer PV manufacturers improved productivity beyond that provided by the ‘Solamet PV17x’ series. ‘Solamet PV18A’ is claimed to be the first metallization paste tailored for optimal performance on mono-crystalline wafers with enhanced Lightly Doped Emitters (LDEs).
Manz AG has launched new equipment to address the wet-chemical processing of crystalline silicon solar cells. The IPSG CEI 4800 removes the highly doped layer from the backside and the edges of a wafer and thereby produce chemical edge isolation (CEI). In a second process step the remaining phosphor silicate glass (PSG) layer on the front side of the wafer that was created during the previous diffusion process step, is removed.
Sun Chemical is now offering a broad range of metallization solutions for both additive and subtractive processes as well as module materials for use in the crystalline silicon (c-Si), thin film, printed electronics and other emerging markets. Products being highlighted include a variety of silver tabbing and aluminum backside pastes such as ‘SunTronic’ Cellmet 437W Backside Aluminum paste and SunTronic Cellmet 451W Silver Tabbing Paste.
The Digital Photonics Corporation (DPC) has launched the ‘SolarJet’ printer for selective emitter application of solar front contacts (c-Si). The SolarJet printer is claimed to simplify offline process feasibility by making it possible for labs to quickly, accurately and cost-effectively gauge real world performance benefits before making larger in-line investments. Once feasibility is confirmed, the system can be easily scaled up for larger print runs. The system features inkjet components from Trident Solar generating enhanced efficiency and reduced scrap rates.
DuPont Microcircuit Materials has introduced its next-generation back side silver material for high-efficiency solar cells. DuPont Solamet PV51G photovoltaic metallization is claimed to decrease dependence on silver metals by reducing overall material consumption in solar cells up to 25%. Importantly, the material also provided improved adhesion and maintains desired efficiency performance of the cells.
2BG S.r.l. is introducing a new technology in order to completely remove the use of silver paste from crystalline silicon solar cells backside, with the result of improved cell efficiency and a significant reduction in production cost. The research project started in 2010 through the collaboration with Rise Technology Srl, Italian company founded by researchers of La Sapienza University, Rome.
CAMECA has recently introduced the IMS 7f-Auto Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometer, the latest version of its IMS 7f system. The new instrument is designed to deliver precision elemental and isotopic analyses with increased ease of use and productivity of advanced materials research applications.
Edwards has launched the STP-iXR1606 series of magnetically-levitated turbo-molecular pumps (TMP) with a fully-integrated onboard controller. Edwards’ new TMP incorporates a new rotary design that delivers approximately 40% improvement in throughput at high gas flow rates and an increase of nearly 90% in maximum gas flow, compared to existing products.
Engineered Conductive Materials (ECM) has introduced a fast curing conductive adhesive, DB-1590 for use as a solder replacement in next-generation crystalline silicon solar modules using thinned silicon and/or plated bus bars. This material formulation has been optimized to provide improved conductivity and stability on various substrates when cured at 200°C.
Developed in conjunction with the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan, Konica Minolta Sensing Americas has launched its AK-120/130/140, the world’s first triple junction solar reference cells. Spectral mismatch, which had been a major problem with conventional cells, can be suppressed to 1% or less even when evaluating solar cell performance using JIS C-8942 Class C solar simulators, according to the company.
Manz showcased its new equipment for wet-chemical processing of crystalline silicon solar cells at SNEC 2012 in Shanghai this May. The IPSG CEI 4800 is designed for chemical edge isolation (CEI) and phosphor silicate glass (PSG) post process removal. The tool is capable of handing 4800 wafers per hour and sold as a bundle with the Manz SpeedPicker for loading and unloading.
centrotherm photovoltaics is offering an upgrade package for its centaurus technology, which combines a selective emitter with a dielectric passivated backside. The technology implementation is said to already be combined with fine line printing, reducing paste consumption of the front side silver paste by more than 20%. The achieved conversion efficiencies on 156x156mm² monocrystalline (cz) wafers have already reached the 20% level. Currently, centrotherm said it has more than 50MW of centaurus technology being ramped into volume production.
SoLayTec has introduced its Process Development Tool for ultrafast ALD (Atomic Layer Deposition) for depositing (aluminium oxide) Al2O3. The tool is said to be capable of a highly effective surface passivation of the cell (front and rear) with a throughput of 100 wph (wafers per hour).
Vitronic’s VINSPECsolar electroluminescence inspection system is designed to detect defects within solar cells that could influence electrical performance of the solar module. By using electroluminescence inspection, all defect areas are automatically detected, displayed and classified by relevant software before lamination, so that reworking can increase the module’s efficiency. Archived electroluminescence images of the finished module also serve as proof of the delivered quality.
Stäubli Robotics has launched the TP80 fast Picker, an ultrafast four-axis new technology of high-speed pickers for standard pick & place applications, delivering speeds of more than 200 picks per minute and more flexibility at a lower cost, according to the company.
Tanaka Precious Metals has introduced what it claims is the world’s first conductive silver ink capable of forming electronic circuits using only hardening by ultraviolet (UV) light without the need for hardening by heating. A total of three silver inks using different types of resin and reaction initiator will be available and users can select the materials according to their manufacturing equipment and application.
BTU International’s ‘Tritan’ HV90 dual-lane metallization firing system features increased throughput at 3600 wafers per hour, and includes an edge belt, volatile organic compound (VOC) abatement and a single zone spike with less than 3 seconds spike time. BTU claims that by switching to the dual-lane system, cell manufacturers can expect a 35% increase in capital efficiency coupled to unparalleled performance in lane to lane matching.
centrotherm has introduced a new fast firing furnace tool, c.FIRE for metallization of front and rear contacts of solar cells. It is suited for all common sorts of metallization paste and comes with an integrated and versatile dryer. Emphasis in the design was also placed on a compact footprint and maintenance systems in order to reduce the operating costs for solar cell producers.
Isra Solar Vision has introduced a unique defect inspection system for compound spots on cell edges, which can cause short-circuits when the cells enter the flashing process. Inspection at this stage is seen to ensure level ‘A’ quality for at least the first 400 cells per batch. The new ‘SOLARSCAN-Bevel’ system is designed to prevent wafer/cell scrap and provides the possibility to react immediately with protective or maintenance actions.
Singulus Technologies had launched the ‘SINGULAR ICP-PECVD’ platform for the development and production of high efficiency silicon solar cells, requiring passivation layers for R&D and production applications. The platform has been applied at research centers and institutes in Europe, America and Asia.
STRAMA-MPS, a German based global operating testing and handling equipment supplier has introduced its third generation ‘ProMoSim evo³’, LED-based sun simulator for improved solar cell testing that includes quality checks, high precision IV curve measurement and steady state light soaking and cell degradation measurements.
Op-tection has recently launched a new inspection platform based on Photo Luminescence technology. The PL inspection platform was developed in cooperation with Schott Solar Wafer, which bundles solid metrology experience in one hand with in depth process and material knowledge in the other hand. The result of this effort is the capability to quantify the achievable efficiency of solar wafers before they enter into the cell process line.
OM Group has been providing plating solutions to the electronics industries for over 40 years. Through this experience, the Solar Chemicals division has developed a revolutionary Ni/Cu/Ag plating process for plating on top of fine line silver screened pastes. This economical and efficient process provides PV cell manufacturers cost savings while generating cells with higher efficiencies, as well as improved cell-to-cell consistencies.
RENA has launched its ‘monoTEX,’ IPA-free alkaline texturing process for solar cells. has established that this process is key for their breakthrough mono-crystalline cell concept. RENA’s combination of pre-cleaning and monoTEX texturing is claimed to provide a homogeneous surface with a distribution of pyramid sizes that, together with an optimization of the complete process sequence, enables a cell efficiency that is well beyond the 20% mark. RENA claims to be ‘best in class’ with the monoTEX texturing and has already more than 200 million wafers production experience at different customer plants such as California-based TetraSun.
Manz has made significant updates to its SpeedPicker series system for high-volume crystalline solar cell manufacturing applications. According to Manz, its first generation system had sales of over 300 units. Introduced at the EU PVSEC in Hamburg in September, 2011 the SpeedPicker 1.1 has a throughput rate of 5,000 wafers per hour and one of the world’s best breakage rates compared to competitors’ products.
Ferro Electronic Materials is introducing a new optimized paste system to enhance performance of p-type Metal Wrap Through (MWT) cells at the 26th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition (EU PVSEC), in Hamburg, Germany. The materials include a next-generation rear silver plug hole paste, high efficiency front silver contact pastes, and a back contact aluminum paste.
Trident Solar has initiated the global launch of its new single-step ‘VersaEtch’ Etchant / n-Dopant material for inkjet selective emitter application of solar front contacts (c-Si) at EU PVSEC. Used with the Trident 256Jet-S printhead, the new VersaEtch Etchant/n-Dopant is claimed to match the enhanced cell efficiency (0.5-1.0%) and precise deposition performance (demonstrated 50 micron print) of other selective emitter approaches, while offering the additional benefits of being non-contact, single-step, and cost-effective. Ink jet doping and etching with VersaEtch is said to be a hybrid tool that can be used together with either screen printing or electroplating of metallized contacts.
Aurora Control Technologies has launched ‘Decima CI,’ a new in-line emitter dopant measurement system, that is claimed to be the industry’s first in-line, non-contact emitter dopant measurement system featuring whole-wafer mapping at full production throughput for 100% of manufactured cells. The Decima CI is the first in a family of products to be launched by Aurora that provide for continuous cost-effective measurement of the critical-to-quality wafer parameters in today’s high-volume photovoltaic cell manufacturing processes.
Merck has developed an alternative structuring technology with its etching pastes and is offering patterning concepts under the ‘isishape’ product portfolio. isishape ‘SolarEtch’ was used in the first industrial selective emitter production and became a proven structuring method in various production lines of leading solar cell manufacturers. These material concepts are able to be used to optimized new cell designs that seek to provide higher cell efficiencies at a competitive cost structure.
Ferro Electronic Materials has introduced two new rear aluminum conductor pastes, intended to reduce manufacturing costs while improving electrical efficiency and adhesion compared to currently available commercial products. AL 5130 and AL 5131 have pure aluminum metallurgy with high solids content and are claimed to enable fast printing at speeds of more than 200 millimeters per second. These new pastes react with silicon wafers and form a uniform and deep back-surface field (BSF) in the range of seven to ten microns without introducing recombination traps, helping to boost electrical efficiency.
KLA-Tencor has introduced FabVision Solar, a new integrated solution designed to help crystalline-silicon photovoltaic cell manufacturers improve production yield and profitability by enabling them to react more quickly to metrology and defectivity excursions. The software package pulls the company’s ICOS PVI-6 optical inspection system data through a wide range of analysis and monitoring features to provide better control and improve visibility into the manufacturing process.
Targray Technology International has launched a new paste from world leading manufacturer Giga Solar Materials. This new aluminum paste provides excellent back surface field (BSF) for mono and multicrystalline silicon solar cell wafers. The paste is designed for excellent efficiency, high material compatibility, adhesion strength, and a wide process window.
MKS Instruments has introduced the GLM-2000 PV and Silicon Wafer Monitor for quality control in photovoltaic and crystalline silicon wafer processing for solar applications. The multi-function GLM-2000 uses a unique, high speed, non-contact RF detection technology to measure photoconductance in PV and silicon feedstocks and partially processed cells, either in-process or post-process.
DENSO has launched its VS-Series six-axis articulated robots, which are claimed to offer the world’s highest speed and precision for robots of their class, with cycle times from 0.37 to 0.33 sec. and repeatability from ±0.03 to ±0.02 mm. Reaches are from 500 to 900 mm and payload capacities from 4 to 7 kg.
Heraeus Photovoltaic Business Unit, a developer of advanced front and back-side silver paste for crystalline solar cells has introduced the SOL200 Series for back-side tabbing conductors for mono- and multicrystalline silicon solar cell wafers. SOL200 has been claimed to demonstrate lower paste laydown while maintaining excellent solderability with both leaded and lead-free solders while maintaining high adhesion and high electrical performance.
Konica Minolta Sensing Americas has introduced the AK Series of new photovoltaic reference cells to the US market. The AK reference cells are used as a standard point of calibration to ensure consistent measurements of newly developed photovoltaic cells.
Q-Cells have used new cell technology to break the world record in the field of polycrystalline solar modules. The ESTI (European Solar Test Installation) confirmed independently that the module has a record efficiency rating of 17.84% in relation to the aperture area.
DuPont Microcircuit Materials (MCM) has introduced DuPont ‘Solamet PV701’ photovoltaic metallization paste. Solamet PV701 advanced product composition enables the manufacture of back contact cell designs delivering up to 0.4% greater conversion efficiency for solar cells of Metal Wrap Through (MWT) technology for back side interconnected silicon solar cell designs.
DuPont Microcircuit Materials (MCM) has introduced a new series of aluminum photovoltaic metallization pastes for rear-side passivated crystalline silicon solar cell designs. DuPont ‘Solamet PV36x’ photovoltaic metallization pastes outperform conventional aluminum compositions by delivering up to 0.8% greater conversion efficiency for solar cells when used in Local Back Surface Field (BSF) designs.
Enercon Industries Corporation is introducing the new ‘Plasma4’ in-line atmospheric plasma surface treatment system for the cleaning and functionalizing of roll-to-roll materials used for fabricating photovoltaic systems.
Trumpf has introduced two new marking lasers – the TruMark 6030 and TruMark 6140 – to its TruMark Series 6000. Users can now choose from six high-performance machines that are available in any wavelength needed for surface processing.