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Mallinckrodt Baker FinalDR 5/1/10 09:35 Page 13
Solar manufacturers are currently seeking improved
performance from every aspect of the manufacturing process to
ensure better technology leading to greater market acceptance.
John Bubel, Director of Marketing of Microelectronics at
Mallinckrodt Baker takes a look at how performance chemistries
can lead to new opportunities for PV manufacturing.
n the relentless drive toward grid parity, solar Growing focus on surface modification
cell manufacturers face multiple challenges: One of the most important trends driving the
They need to increase solar cell efficiency, reduce evolution of c-Si solar cell manufacturing is the
cost-per-watt peak (cost/Wp) of energy produced, reduction in wafer thickness, with multicrystalline
control manufacturing costs, and improve silicon wafers slimming down from average
economies of scale as production lines ramp up to thicknesses of 220 microns to a current thickness
multi-megawatt output volumes. of 160-180 microns. Further reductions, to 120
microns – are predicted in the near future.
Issue VI 2009
Other high-technology industries, such as
semiconductor and flat panel manufacturing, have As wafers become thinner, controlling the
gone through a similar maturation process. In the properties of the wafer surface increases in
evolution from pilot lines and small-scale importance, since there is more interaction of
production to mass-production fabs, strategic the charge carriers with the surface. Improving
partners and technology suppliers with proven process yield and solar cell efficiencies will
expertise in productivity, yield, and quality control therefore depend on developing better, more
techniques have offered crucial guidance and controllable surface modification techniques.
insight on solving key manufacturing challenges. Additionally, using engineered chemistries such
as texturing to improve processes offers multiple
For crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cell opportunities and reduces manufacturing costs
manufacturers, opportunities exist to improve cell and total COO.
efficiency and reduce total cost of ownership
(COO) by taking a more sophisticated approach to Engineered chemistries increase cell
the use of wet chemistries in several key process efficiency
steps. Working with chemical suppliers such as Recent developments in several multicrystalline
Mallinckrodt Baker, the use of engineered cell manufacturing processes show that solar
performance chemistries can supplement or cell efficiency can be improved through the
replace bulk commodity chemicals, optimizing the application of engineered wet chemistries, helping
manufacturing and output of several c-Si fine-tune surface modification wet chemistry
fabrication processes. processes. For example, in post-emitter treatment,
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