Ultrafast lasers increase solar cell efficiency

Munich, Germany - The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety is supporting a project at the University of Applied Sciences Lasercenter in Munich (LUM) for increasing the production process efficiency for solar modules. In cooperation with Avancis GmbH & Co. KG, the project intends to make the manufacture of solar modules more cost-effective and more efficient by improving process repeatability.

The project will work with CIS thin film solar cells made from copper, indium and selenium. The production process uses standard window glass as a substrate. The efficiency factor of these solar cells is high - with a single cell efficiency factor of nearly 20% and a module efficiency factor of more than 13%, which equals that of conventional polycrystalline silicon solar cells at much lower cost.

Industrial structuring of the thin film layers with nanosecond lasers or mechanical scribing tools has some potential for damage to the individual layers. The picosecond lasers, to be used in the LUM project, have a pulse duration short enough to structure selectively an upper film without damaging the layers below by heat diffusion. The aim of the project is to improve the process speed for an industrial application and, once the project is completed, to implement a picosecond laser process suitable for industrial use in production. Additionally the precision of the picosecond laser process opens up the possibility to increase the solar efficiency of the CIS-cell by optimizing the material composition, because picosecond structuring is less sensitive to a change of materials.

For further information, please contact Prof. Dr Heinz Huber, Lasercenter University Munich: heinz.huber@hm.edu

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