New Product: OTB and Trident collaborate on inkjet printhead integration for cell processing

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Product Briefing Outline: OTB Solar and Trident Solar have announced a partnership in which Trident’s proprietary ‘256Jet-S’ inkjet printhead technology will be integrated into OTB Solar’s ‘PixDro’ open architecture inkjet platforms. These will include integration into its ‘LP50’ research and development tool and the ‘Elements’ pilot or full production systems.  The Trident inkjet printhead combined with OTB Solar´s specialty software allows the enhanced LP50 and Elements systems to provide what is claimed to be the most cost-effective and precise deposition of ‘jettable’ materials available for solar applications.

Problem: Aggressive materials that are jetted for ink jet deposition of solar cell technology can quickly wear down non-inert printheads resulting in the need to frequently replace the printheads technology which increases costs and downtime. In addition to being aggressive, the jettable materials are also expensive and non-precise deposition generates significant waste and expense.

Solution: Trident’s inkjet printhead features stainless steel construction and a unique repairable design – that allows the nozzle plate to be disassembled, ultrasonically cleaned and reassembled. The inertness of the 256Jet-S printhead enables jetting of the more aggressive solar processing fluids such as phosphorous dopants and alkaline etchant. These features allow the 256Jet-S printhead to last up to 8-times longer than alternative inkjet printheads, according to the company. The inert, durable construction of the 256Jet-S makes it designed for use in direct write, precision dispensing applications of etchants with PH ranging from 2 – 14.   For example, strong bases such as NaOH or KOH can be used to etch produce line or hole features in the indium tin oxide layer.  Phosphoric acid can be used to produce undercut openings in the surface of a semiconductor structure to connect to a doped layer or connect to a back electrode. 
In addition to generating cost savings with long-lasting inert printhead technology, the LP50 and Element platforms feature advanced software that allows for higher precision in the deposition of jetable materials, thereby reducing waste of expensive materials.

Applications: Ink jet printing of solar cell technology

Platform: Trident 256Jet-S printheads have been incorporated into two OTB Solar inkjet printing platforms- the LP50 and Element. The LP50 is an advanced research and development tool used for trials in the development of inkjet materials, processes and applications. The Element is flexible inkjet printing system that allows for easy scaling from application development on a LP50 into a pilot scale or full production. The tool can handle product sizes of 5, 6 and 8 inches and has a throughput of up to 1500 wafers/hr. The open architecture of OTB Solar´s platforms provides enhanced flexibility in the production of solar cell technologies with different manufacturing requirements and allows for a variety of printhead and laser applications to be integrated.

Availability: Currently available.

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