Laser production of solar cells possible

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New work on the laser production of solar cells has returned promising results. Dr Tony Hoult and a team at SPI’s US applications facility has shown that a 200W continuous wave 1070nm fibre laser can cleanly cut the polycrystalline silicon used in solar cell production, with little debris production.

Cutting speeds of up to 360m/s, on 200μm silicon ribbon have already been achieved. Analysis of the cuts shows very smooth surfaces with minimal debris or spatter, and with no appreciable taper.

SPI has now joined with the Cambridge Institute of Manufacturing (CIM) in the UK, and other laser based research institutes around the world with similar equipment, to conduct more detailed tests further trials.