Two weeks after an independent study concluded that
Black silicon technology can eliminate the plasma-enhanced chemical vapour deposition (PECVD) of silicon nitride currently in solar cell production lines. Now
In typical solar cell manufacturing, the surface of the cell is doped in a process that involves heating the entire silicon wafer to a temperature in the range of 800 to 900° C. The process can damage the silicon, and wastes considerable energy. Laser doping works by firing a focused laser beam on the wafer. A small amount of dopant is initially sitting on the surface. The laser beam actually melts the silicon, which then re-solidifies, usually in less than one microsecond. The microsecond, however, is enough time to accomplish the doping.
Because the laser delivers energy to a very localised area, it would heat only that portion of the wafer that needs to be heated and can lead to more efficient solar cells. Furthermore, a laser would reduce the amount of energy required to produce solar cells, because it would no longer be necessary to heat the whole cell and the furnace around it.
The laser that is being considered by
To gain expertise in the use of lasers to process solar cells,
"Between Prof Gupta and Dr
"We are reinventing the way that solar cells are made," says
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