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New Ultra-Short-Pulse Laser for High Efficiency Solar Cell Concepts

Coherent, Inc introduces a new laser system - the Talisker - optimized for next-generation high-efficiency solar cell manufacturing, and designed as a drop-in, turn-key tool for both production line equipment suppliers and cell manufacturers.

Traditionally, laser scribers for Edge Isolation, Laser Grooved Buried Contacts, and Wrap-Through hole drilling have had to rely upon lasers operating with short-pulses of nanosecond duration and often laser emission only in the infra-red spectral region at 1064 nm. However, to optimize the scribing precision and minimize laser damage - or microcracking - within c-Si wafers, the use of a) ultra-short pulse 'picosecond' durations, and b) ultra-short laser emission with green or UV outputs, is highly beneficial. The new Talisker laser brings these features to solar cell manufacturing for the first time.

The Talisker laser draws upon Coherent's established position as a leading supplier of short-pulse nanosecond AVIATM and PRISMATM lasers for existing c-Si and Thin-Film equipment tools, most of which run in 24 / 7 high-volume environments. The Talisker laser operates with similar output energies and speed (pulsing repetition-rate). But the key difference is the shorter pulse-width of the Talisker. This provides orders of magnitude higher peak intensities for precision scribing, and reduces vastly the thermal damage, sometimes seen with certain laser/material interaction.

The other strength of the Talisker laser is that it delivers different outputs in the infra-red, green, or UV spectral regions, by software control. UV and green wavelengths are essential for highly localized surface scribing on c-Si wafers, due to the very short penetration depths in the green and in particular UV at 355 nm. Combining ultra-short picosecond pulse operation with high-energy green / UV output wavelengths brings a new level of precision for many applications of lasers in high-efficiency c-Si cell manufacturing. One example is Selective Ablation of dielectric materials, where minimizing damage in the underlying bulk silicon is essential. Equally, within Thin-Film patterning, the ability to scribe layers with increasing precision is critical. One example here is laser scribing the P2 and P3 steps for CIGS.

The Talisker is a modular and scalable design based on fiber-laser technology. Talisker operates off single-phase electricity and requires no external consumables. Complete with on-board diagnostics and remote Ethernet preventative-maintenance access, the Talisker can be easily integrated within inline turn-key tools. Benefiting from a hybrid fiber / free-space laser head design, the footprint measures less than 40 cm x 100 cm.

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