Production Technology

By the transfer of record lab-cell efficiencies into the industrial environment, solutions for cost-effective production technology are of crucial importance. Specializing in technology transfer, Fraunhofer ISE evaluates and optimizes innovative production processes and equipment with regard to their suitability for tandem photovoltaics. Important sustainability aspects – such as saving energy and material resources – play a major role here.

Highlights#

  • Long-standing competence and expertise in all relevant solar cell production technologies (thin film deposition, wet chemistry, printing, laser, etc.)
  • Comprehensive models for the techno-economic evaluation of production processes
  • Technology transfer to the industrial environment

R&D for Production Technology#

Equipped with an excellent infrastructure and years of expertise, Fraunhofer ISE offers a vast array of R&D services which address the current challenges in the field of production technology for tandem photovoltaics. We support solar cell and module manufacturers as well as material and equipment manufacturers by the selection of suitable processes and production equipment. We offer a wide range of characterization methods covering all relevant aspects from material and surface characterization to in-depth analysis of electrical, optical and functional properties as well as inline characterization. The modeling of our processes and materials also plays an important role especially in the digitalization of our processes and plants.

Fraunhofer ISE has a wide range of high-precision printing and laser systems for metallization and structuring, which can be used to meet a variety of process requirements. These systems feature high-precision optical alignment, which allows the implementation of complex structures even over several process steps. The realization of ultra-fine line contacts with good conductivity on structured silicon surfaces is one of the disciplines in which Fraunhofer ISE has gathered decades of experience.

In the area of thin-film vacuum deposition processes, we have a great deal of experience with many materials and deposition methods. For the deposition of electron and hole conductors, we have sputtering equipment with special low-damage sputtering sources. With this equipment, not only transparent conductive layers but also alternative electron and hole contacts and even dielectric layers can be deposited on different substrate sizes (up to M12). In the area of atomic layer deposition, we have several types of equipment for the deposition of different materials.

We also offer a wide range of technologies for the successful deposition of perovskite absorber layers. With blade coating, for example, deposition on large industrial-sized wafers has been realized.  Spray coating and corresponding vapor deposition processes are currently under development.

Economic viability is of central importance for the successful transfer of technological developments into the industrial production environment. We provide a continuous and well-founded techno-economic analysis starting from initial development phase. Comprehensive models help us to evaluate all of the technical and economic factors affecting the economic efficiency of the technology. We consider the individual production technologies as well as the entire process chain for the production of tandem solar cells and modules. Based on Life Cycle Analyses, or LCA, we investigate the production and operation of photovoltaic technologies with respect to their effect on the ecological impact categories.

Continuous cathode sputtering (PVD) system
© Fraunhofer ISE/ Photo: Bernd Müller
Continuous cathode sputtering (PVD) system in PV-TEC Front End for the deposition of thin films of metals and transparent conductive oxides (TCO).
Neue Siebdrucklinie im PV-TEC Back-End
© Fraunhofer ISE
New screen-printing line in PV-TEC.
Rotationssiebdruckanlage für die Metallisierung von Solarzellen
© Fraunhofer ISE
Rotary screen printing unit for the solar cell metallization.

Our Infrastructure and R&D Services on this Topic#

PV-TEC

Photovoltaic Technology Evaluation Center

Center for High Efficiency Solar Cells

Functional Printing

High-precision printing technologies for the development of functional materials and innovative processes.