Laser processing has a long history in the manufacturing of solar cells since most thin-film photovoltaic modules have
been manufactured using laser scribing for more than thirty years. Lasers have also been used by many solar cell
manufacturers for a variety of applications such as edge isolation, identification marking, laser grooving for selective
emitters and cutting of silicon wafers and ribbons. In addition, several laser-processing techniques are currently being
investigated for the production of new types of high performance silicon solar cells. There have also been research
efforts on utilizing laser melting, laser annealing and laser texturing in the fabrication of solar cells. Recently, a number of manufacturers have been developing new generations of solar cells where they use laser ablation of dielectric layers to form selective emitters or passivated rear point contacts. Others have been utilizing lasers to drill holes through the silicon wafers for emitter-wrap-through or metal-wrap-through back-contact solar cells. Scientists at Fraunhofer ISE have demonstrated high efficiency silicon solar cells (21.7%) by using laser firing to form passivated rear point contacts in p-type silicon wafers. Investigators art both the University of Stuttgart and the University of New South Wales have produced high efficiency silicon solar cells using laser doping to form selective emitters, and some companies are now developing commercial products based on both laser doping and laser firing of contacts. The use of lasers in solar cell processing appears destined to grow given the advances that are continually being made in laser technology.