Applied Solar c Si push Efficiency productivity in c Si manufacturing

Applied Materials made announcements relative to improvements in its c-Si manufacturing technologies during SNEC PV Power Expo. Jim Cushing at Applied Solar discussed the company’s efforts in a podcast interview with Debra Vogler, and described the company’s c-Si technology roadmap going forward.

By Debra Vogler, senior technical editor

February 22, 2011 Applied Materials (AMAT) made announcements relative to improvements in its c-Si manufacturing technologies during SNEC PV Power Expo (China, Shanghai; 2/22-2/24/11). Jim Cushing, senior director, product management, at Applied Solar, discussed the company’s efforts in a podcast interview with Debra Vogler, senior technical editor, and described the company’s c-Si technology roadmap (Fig. 1) going forward.

Listen to Cushing’s interview: Download (iPhone/iPod users) or Play Now  

Among the announcements is a new high-strength structured wire for the company’s HCT Squarer, which prepares silicon ingots to be cut into PV wafers. The new wire increases cutting speed by 70%, resulting in a 30% reduction in total system cost of ownership (COO). Applied Solar is also optimizing structured wire technology for its HCT B5 wire saw.

Figure 1. Applied Materials’ c-Si technology roadmap.

Other improvements announced include a print solution for the company’s Esatto technology for selective emitter (SE) metallization. Called double-print, the new process allows the narrowing of the grid lines on the front surface of the wafer so that more light can reach the solar cell. Additionally, a new printable dopant paste (PDP) selective emitter process enables better contact for the grid lines so that more power can be attained with decreased recombination losses. “It’s an easy, straightforward process to integrate with the current process flow,” said Cushing. “You add a dopant screen print after the texture etch to form the SE region, then follow the standard flow to put the metal down on top of it to form the grid lines.” He added that the new PDP SE process has the least amount of changes to the existing process flow and uses standard equipment. Applied has qualified the dopant paste and released screens for this process; the company reports a 0.5% efficiency gain with it (Fig. 2).

Figure 2. Printed dopant paste SE efficiency gain.

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