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Title: Real time PV manufacturing diagnostic system

The main obstacle Photovoltaic (PV) industry is facing at present is the higher cost of PV energy compared to that of fossil energy. While solar cell efficiencies continue to make incremental gains these improvements are so far insufficient to drive PV costs down to match that of fossil energy. Improved in-line diagnostics however, has the potential to significantly increase the productivity and reduce cost by improving the yield of the process. On this Phase I/Phase II SBIR project MicroXact developed and demonstrated at CIGS pilot manufacturing line a high-throughput in-line PV manufacturing diagnostic system, which was verified to provide fast and accurate data on the spatial uniformity of thickness, an composition of the thin films comprising the solar cell as the solar cell is processed reel-to-reel. In Phase II project MicroXact developed a stand-alone system prototype and demonstrated the following technical characteristics: 1) ability of real time defect/composition inconsistency detection over 60cm wide web at web speeds up to 3m/minute; 2) Better than 1mm spatial resolution on 60cm wide web; 3) an average better than 20nm spectral resolution resulting in more than sufficient sensitivity to composition imperfections (copper-rich and copper-poor regions were detected). The system was verified to be highmore » vacuum compatible. Phase II results completely validated both technical and economic feasibility of the proposed concept. MicroXact’s solution is an enabling technique for in-line PV manufacturing diagnostics to increase the productivity of PV manufacturing lines and reduce the cost of solar energy, thus reducing the US dependency on foreign oil while simultaneously reducing emission of greenhouse gasses.« less
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  1. MicroXact Inc., Blacksburg, VA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
MicroXact Inc., Blacksburg, VA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
14 SOLAR ENERGY Photovoltaic manufacturing diagnostics; spectropolarimetric imaging; process control; solar cell; thin film characterization