A NEW WAY TO SEE - the hidden potential for PV solar cell optimization

Petten/Aachen – Today, the worldwide first automated wafer analysis system based on Protemics´ proprietary THz microprobe technology has been successfully launched at the Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) for the advanced analysis of high tech solar cells.

Background

The effort required for the optimization of present solar cell fabrication processes critically depends on the availability of high-performance analysis tools. Efficiency lowering inhomogeneity or structural defects need to be pinpointed as early as possible in a fabrication or development chain in order to avoid unreasonably large costs for excessive try-and-error runs. So far, the capability of the available commercial tools for quantitative sheet resistance measurements has been insufficient in terms of key properties like  spatial resolution, measurement speed or accessible measurement area. The new THz PV measurement tool, developed and build by Protemics (Aachen, Germany) in close cooperation with ECN, represents a breakthrough for a more powerful analysis of solar cell structures by offering, at the same time, spatial resolutions in the order of a few tens of micrometers, access to full-solar cell areas and high measurement speeds of up to 3 ms per measurement point. Beside sheet resistance distributions it can also unveil carrier lifetimes in semiconductor-based PV solar cell structures. The latter function will be added within the next three months. The applicability of the system is not limited to only flat samples but it can also be used on rough, bended or even passivated samples.

The launch of the tool is part of a cooperation agreement between Protemics GmbH and ECN targeting the commercialization of THz analysis technology for PV applications. While Protemics is bringing in its THz technology experience, ECN contributes its long lasting experience as industrial based PV process technology developer and developer of analytic tools for the PV market via its daughter company Sunlab BV. ECN will now start to develop further application schemes and prepare the introduction of the tool to the PV market. For interested parties the THz PV measurement tool is available for demo measurements to reveil its capabilities on solar wafer structures. The latest news will be available soon on the Sunlab website (www.sunlab.nl).

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.

About ECN

ECN is an independent research institute that performs R&D to enable the transition to renewable energy. The unit Solar Energy 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.

Media contacts

Protemics GmbH
Dr. Michael Nagel
CEO
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+49 241 8867 140

ECN
Dr. Ilkay Cesar
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+31 224 56 4217

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