The main goal in PV research is a significant reduction of Watt-peak costs of PV systems and thus of solar cells.
Innovative cell concepts including robust and reasonable process technologies are necessary to provide highest
efficiencies and low process complexity. Laser technology with its excellent features for material machining offers many
opportunities to make economical manufacturing processes feasible for solar cell production. To benefit from these
advantages of laser technology the knowledge of methods for a relevant process characterization is required. This paper
reviews experimental investigations of laser processes concerning laser related machining of silicon for PV application.
The processes of interest are laser ablation of diffusion barriers and passivating dielectric layers from silicon surfaces to
realize local contact openings. The impact of important laser source parameters, such as pulse energy, pulse duration and
laser wavelength, on a silicon substrate in terms of crystal damage is investigated by means of contactless charge carrier
lifetime measurements. From these measurements important conclusions can be drawn considering the final solar cell
performance. This paper describes the extraction of relevant electrical parameters of laser treated silicon wafers like local
saturation current densities deduced from lifetime measurements. These investigations allow the evaluation of different
laser sources for the high-efficiency approach.