New Product: Magma’s ‘YieldManager Solar’ software improves yield and cell production costs

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Product Briefing Outline: Magma Design Automation Inc. has introduced ‘YieldManager Solar,’ a yield enhancement software system customized for solar fabs that is intended to improve energy conversion efficiency, increases yield and reduces the manufacturing costs of solar cells. Based on software proven in the semiconductor industry, YieldManager Solar provides fast, accurate analysis and correlation of all metrology, inspection and performance data used throughout the solar cell manufacturing process. With this information, solar fab test and production engineers can quickly identify and correct root causes of solar energy conversion efficiency and yield degradation caused by subtle fab processing fluctuations or instability – saving time, maximizing equipment utilization, increasing yield and reducing costs.

Problem: Inefficient energy conversion and the need to produce a very large number of wafers contribute to the high cost of solar-converted electricity and slow the growth of the alternative energy market. As with semiconductors, solar cells are produced using a variety of manufacturing tools and equipment, each of which presents data in a unique format. With such a complex process and varying data, identifying the root cause of problems requires a holistic approach.

Solution: YieldManager Solar can collect and organize current and historic manufacturing data from all the process equipment. It allows fab engineers to easily filter data by lot, ingot, substrate, wafer and other parameters and to generate customized reports and dashboards. With this comprehensive analysis system, problems can be identified quickly and easily. For example, a non-uniform doping level on a process step could cause a drop in sheet resistance that can reduce the energy conversion efficiency of a solar cell. By monitoring, reporting and sending alarms about these types of out-of-control conditions, YieldManager Solar helps engineers identify and correct problems quickly. Additional analysis can then be performed, as needed.

Applications: Solar cells

Platform: Magma’s electronic design automation (EDA) software is used to create complex, high-performance integrated circuits (ICs) for cellular telephones, electronic games, WiFi, MP3 players, DVD/digital video, networking, automotive electronics and other electronic applications. Magma products for IC implementation, analog/mixed-signal design, analysis, physical verification, circuit simulation and characterization.

Availability: Currently available.

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