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ECD Thermosphere Collective IQ

The ECD Thermosphere Collective IQ is a collaboration of shared intelligence with Thermal Measurment as the primary focus.

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Thermal Profiling in the Solar Industry

Posted on Aug 07, 2009

Solar Cell manufacturing has been around for a long time; however the materials and process have changed drastically in the past few years and will continue to evolve as the technology and need for Renewable Energy grows. The costs of manufacturing and the risks associated with the ever changing processes can strain the ability to maintain yields and improve quality. Proving these new manufacturing processes, then achieving the repeatability and yield needed for production have always been a challenge.

ECD’s suite of profiling tools allow detailed Characterization of these advanced processes during the R&D phase. During production ramp-up good thermal thermal profile data drives yield improvement leading to maximum profitability. In production these same tools can quickly Verify that the optimum manufacturing process is being maintained.

ECD has many types of customers in the Solar Cell manufacturing industry. They include start-ups, university research departments and production facilities, located around the globe.

The application areas that we have been able to identify are among the following:

Silicon Metallization:

Thermal profiling is used to optimize the drying, rapid firing and following cooling process in the oven.

Silicon Diffusion:

Thermal profiling is used to optimize the heating, high temperature diffusion and cooling process in the oven.

Thin film Solar Cells:

Done on glass and other substrates, this process is similar to Diffusion process, but at lower temperature.

Profiling Equipment Requirements:

Minimum profiler thickness is important – Many of the ovens designed for solar manufacturing provide little vertical clearance for the profilers. Thermal barrier requirements vary and in some cases, time and temperature do not allow pass-thru profiling. In most cases 3 channels of thermal data are sufficient for process verification as all areas of the silicon heat similarly. Thermocouple attachment can also be tedious, with mechanical pressure being the most common contact method.

We look forward to the continued growth and success of the Solar industry and we would like to invite all solar industry participants to work with us and discover how we can help you reach your performance goals.

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