Coherent ships 100th AVIA laser for solar cell production

Coherent Inc. announced it has shipped its 100th AVIA laser into the solar industry for use in the manufacture of high-efficiency solar cells and panels.

AVIA lasers are utilized extensively within both crystalline-silicon and thin-film solar cell production lines worldwide, and reportedly are the leader in UV laser-based silicon cell edge isolation with greater than 90% market share. AVIA lasers also feature prominently within new production lines for next-generation high-efficiency silicon cell concepts. Applications here include scribing trenches for buried or recessed contact-fingers, selectively ablating dielectric passivation layers for electroless metallization, and drilling Through-Silicon-Vias for Wrap-Through cells.

Finlay Colville, director of solar marketing, outlines factors behind this success: "The AVIA was prime for 24/7 production long before the solar industry burst into life, having been industrially qualified for analogous laser processes within the semiconductor and displays sectors. Very quickly, the AVIA laser became the de facto industry standard for laser edge isolation and other front-contact processes, in addition to patterning of Zinc-Oxide transparent conductive layers deposited during 'P1' manufacturing of amorphous-silicon thin-film panels."

With such a large install-base of AVIA lasers within the solar industry, incremental improvements to AVIA lasers are now strongly influenced by roadmap requests from solar manufacturers. A point captured by Mark Mondry, product line manager for the AVIA: "With solar cell capacities increasing year-on-year, the power levels for 355 and 532 nm AVIA lasers have kept pace with these production line demands. Last year, UV and green power levels were increased to 28 and 45W, respectively. Also, a low-power 23W AVIA-532 version was released for high-throughput a:Si thin-film patterning."

All AVIA models are diode-pumped solid-state (DPSS) lasers, which operate off single-phase electricity and require no external consumables. Featuring a wealth of software-controlled pulsing options, AVIA lasers are designed as industrial field-integrated lasers for production, and comprise highly reliable components with lifetimes of tens of thousands of hours.

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