Surfect’s ‘Solargy’ offers high performance metal interconnect for solar cells



Product Briefing Outline:
Surfect Technologies has launched Solargy, the industry’s first
programmable plating computer for solar applications.  Capable of
accommodating combinations of 125, 156 and 210mm size cells, Solargy’s
Direct Energy Plating technology is claimed to offer significantly
reduced plating costs, while improving manufacturing speed and yield.

Problem: Solar cell producers are striving to increase cell and panel efficiency as well as focusing on ramping production capacity to accommodate long-term supply agreements.  Metallization is emerging as the bottleneck to improved solar efficiency; series resistance, surface recombination, and long term reliability are key challenges for performance improvement. These challenges are further heightened by the need for a cost-effective solution.

Solution: Solargy is a self-contained, automated tool that uses Surfect’s proprietary Direct Energy Plating ultrasonic technology to deposit metals on solar cells at a significantly faster rate than existing processes, and with better uniformity.  The DEP technology can achieve high aspect ratio plating at more than twice the rate of other industry tools, with uniformity rates that are typically between 3% and 7%.  Solargy also offers wide variety of metals and metal stacks at a lower process cost than competing technologies.  By accommodating multiple chemistries in a single processing chamber, Solargy takes an “inkjet” approach to metallization.  The closed system is environmentally friendly, with far less waste. 

Applications: Front and back-side metallization of solar cells, modules & panels, MEMS and LED lighting.  The companion Ascent 200 plating tool provides flip chip interconnect for wafer level packaging and through-silicon-via applications.

Platform: The Solargy and Ascent platforms combine single-cell design with a scalable architecture.  Once the process is optimized on a single cell, it can be copied directly into production without expensive scale-up, and system maintenance can be isolated to individual cells. 

Availability: April 2008 onwards.

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