OM Group’s complete process for plated metal stack on fine-line printed Ag paste for c-Si cells

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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.

Problem: While standard silver pastes have proven to be adequate for producing silicon PV cells, the process has several major drawbacks. Most notably, the continued instability in silver market pricing has led to Ag paste becoming very costly. Additionally, there are limitations to reducing line widths with Ag paste screening. The wider lines create added shading and less surface area on the cell surface, leading to less sunlight being absorbed for energy generation. Finally, because Ag pastes are not pure metal, but metal combined with fillers, there will be variability in the conductivity of the Ag paste lines. While several wet process suppliers have attempted to develop plating systems for these applications, many silver pastes used in the market place are very sensitive to chemistry.

Solution: OM Group Solar Chemicals’ Solar Plate Ni PV80, Cu PV73 and Ag200 baths were developed for maximum compatibility with the top silver pastes in the market. PV cells manufactured with these chemistries are said to have higher efficiencies, higher fill factor and lower series resistance. Furthermore, there is no attack of the front-side silver paste, the aluminum BSF, the ARC or the silver back-side contacts. Most importantly, the adhesion of the metal stack layer is said to be excellent after soldering.

Applications:  OM Group’s chemistries can be used either in LIP, standard electrolytic or combined LIP/electrolytic mode. The chemistries can plate at very high current densities, allowing the customer to minimize floor space and achieving high volume throughput. 

Platform: OM Group’s chemistry have been designed to be used with the top wet process equipment systems available on the market. 

Availability: Currently available.

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