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.
Problem: Until now, PV manufacturers have had to rely on time-consuming, inconsistent manual defect analysis methods. Implementing data collection, defectivity and line-monitoring best practices enables cell manufacturers to take proactive measures throughout the manufacturing process. The ability to review in-line data at any point, not just for excursions, dramatically shifts production toward predictive action.
Solution: FabVision provides a turnkey, integrated solution for PV cell production that complements users’ existing automated optical inspection strategies. It helps manufacturers identify the root causes of defectivity issues by applying production-proven defectivity and metrology methodologies from the integrated circuit and especially the bare-wafer markets that are designed specifically for ICOS PVI-6 tools and optimized for the solar industry. Excursion/process monitoring (statistical process control) provides process control through in-line monitoring of all PVI-6 measurement parameters and alarms/email notifications on excursions. The FabVision Solar platform features several key enabling elements: Automated report generation increases visibility into manufacturing process with time-based automated reporting analysis of optical inspection measurement results from multiple inspection modules across multiple fab manufacturing lines. Detection of repeating defects and warning capabilities enables quick reaction to excursions with configurable rules set by proximity, defect type, and frequency of occurrence, while real-time alarms offer email notification and on-tool warning. Defect signature identification using multiple wafer/cell stacking helps visualize defect signatures or frequently impacted wafer/cell locations for root-cause understanding and action in the production line.
Applications: c-Si solar cell production.
Platform: The PVI-6 consists of a family of inspection modules designed for inspection of solar wafers and cells throughout the manufacturing process. Additionally, the PVI-6 software includes improved ease of use and analytical tools to increase the overall yield of the solar wafer and cell manufacturing process.
Availability: June 2011 onwards.