Aachen/Petten – Non-destructive testing is one of the most important applications of recent technological developments operating in the spectral range of Terahertz (THz) frequencies. For example, THz radiation is able to unveil sheet resistance distributions and charge carrier dynamics in semiconductors or thin-film conductors also under difficult situations such as on rough or passivated surfaces.
However, the inspection of micron-scale structures as found in newly developed solar cell structures requires advanced sensors that are able to break the millimeter-scale optical resolution limits of THz light and enable analytic results sufficiently detailed for the optimization of solar cell fabrication processes.
Protemics GmbH (Aachen, Germany) and Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands ECN (Petten, The Netherlands) have now officially announced their agreement on a joint venture targeting the development and commercialization of advanced THz analytics for photovoltaic (PV) applications. Protemics will contribute its proprietary Terahertz technology including "TeraSpike" high-resolution microprobe sensors as well as further key components for a new wafer-scale scanning system providing automated imaging of sheet-resistance distributions and carrier life-time information. The measurement speed of the new contactless system will be three orders of magnitude faster than four-point-probe testing and offer more than 100-times higher spatial resolution (10 µm) than any contactless system available on the market.
ECN will bring in its long lasting experience as industrial based PV process technology developer and developer of analytic tools for the PV market. Within the partnership Protemics and ECN will develop a THz measuring tool dedicated for solar cell measurements. ECN will be responsible for the application development and the introduction of the tool to the PV sector. The tool will become available in the last quarter of 2015.
About Protemics GmbH
Protemics is a privately held spin-off of the research company AMO GmbH and the Institute of Semiconductor Electronics (RWTH Aachen University) with a back-ground of two decades in Terahertz technology research. Protemics incorporates an interdisciplinary team of specialists in Terahertz technology, semiconductor processing, optoelectronic system and software design, application engineering and business development.
Protemics is a manufacturer of innovative measurement products and a provider of measurement or development services. Protemics´ THz microprobe devices are breaking the limits of conventional THz imaging tools and open a new path to micron-scale resolution contactless near-field measurements.
ECN is an independent research institute that performs R&D to enable the transition to renewable energy. The unit Solar Energy has started in 1990 and has grown out to be one of the leading Solar PV research institutes in the world. The close cooperation with industrial solar cell producers and equipment manufacturers has led to many innovations in solar modules.
With a team of international professionals ECN Solar Energy is active in the field of material testing, solar cell device and module development, outdoor monitoring and building integrated PV.
Dr. Michael Nagel
+49 241 8867 140
Dr. Ilkay Cesar
+31 224 56 4217