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23 February 2010 Structuring of thin film solar cells
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Laser structuring of different types of thin film layers is a state of the art process in the photovoltaic industry. TCO layers and molybdenum are structured with e.g. 1064 nm lasers. Amorphous silicon, microcrystalline silicon or cadmium telluride are ablated with 515/532 nm lasers. Typical pulse durations of the lasers in use for these material ablation processes are in the nanosecond range. Up to now the common process for CIS/CIGS cells is needle structuring. Hard metal needles scribe lines with a width of 30 to 60 μm into the semiconductor material. A laser technology would have some advantages compared to mechanical scribing. The precision of the lines would be higher (no chipping effects), the laser has no wear out. The dead area (distance from P1 structuring line to P3 structuring line) can be significantly smaller with the laser technology. So we investigate the structuring of CIS/CIGS materials with ultra short pulse lasers of different wavelengths. The ablation rates and the structuring speeds versus the repetition rates have been established. For the different layer thicknesses and line widths we determined the necessary energy densities. After all tests we can calculate the possible reduction of the dead area on the thin film module. The new technology will result in an increase in the efficiency per module of up to 4 %.
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Gabriele Eberhardt, Henrik Banse, Uwe Wagner, and Thomas Peschel "Structuring of thin film solar cells", Proc. SPIE 7585, Laser-based Micro- and Nanopackaging and Assembly IV, 75850P (23 February 2010);

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