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Title: In-Line Crack and Stress Detection in Silicon Solar Cells Using Resonance Ultrasonic Vibrations

Abstract

Statement of Problem and Objectives. Wafer breakage in automated solar cell production lines is identified as a major technical problem and a barrier for further cost reduction of silicon solar module manufacturing. To the best of our knowledge, there are no commercial systems addressing critical needs for in-line inspection of the mechanical quality of solar wafers and cells. The principal objective of the SBIR program is to validate through experiments and computer modeling the applicability of the Resonance Ultrasonic Vibrations system, which ultimately can be used as a real-time in-line manufacturing quality control tool for fast detection of mechanically unstable silicon solar cells caused by cracks. The specific objective of Phase II is to move the technology of in-line crack detection from the laboratory level to commercial demonstration through development of a system prototype. The fragility of silicon wafers possessing low mechanical strength is attributed to peripheral and bulk millimeter-length cracks. The research program is based on feasibility results obtained during Phase I, which established that: (i) the Resonance Ultrasonic Vibrations method is applicable to as-cut, processed wafers and finished cells; (ii) the method sensitivity depends on the specific processing step; it is highest in as-cut wafers and lowest inmore » wafers with metallization pattern and grid contacts; (iii) the system is capable of matching the 2.0 seconds per wafer throughput rate of state-of-art solar cell production lines; (iv) finite element modeling provides vibration mode analysis along with peak shift versus crack length and crack location dependence; (v) a high 91% crack rejection rate was confirmed through experimentation and statistical analysis. The Phase II project has the following specific tasks: (i) specify optimal configurations of the in-line system's component hardware and software; (ii) develop and justify a system prototype that meets major specifications for an in-line crack detection unit, such as high throughput rate, high level of stability, reproducibility of data acquisition and analysis, and high sensitivity with respect to crack length and crack location; (iii) design a system platform that allows easy integration within and adaptation to various solar cell belt-type production lines; (iv) develop a testing protocol providing quality certification of the production-grade system. Commercial Application of the proposed activity consists of bringing to the solar market a new high-tech product based on an innovative solution and patented methodology to contribute to cost reduction of silicon solar module production. The solar industry, with crystalline silicon as a dominant segment, shows outstanding performance, with approximately 25% yearly growth during the last years. Despite a slowdown with only 5.6 GW installations in 2009, solar module production for the 2010 and 2011 years was recovered. According to European Photonics Industry Consortium new solar PV installations grow by 56% compared to 2010 reached 64.7 GW in 2011. Revenues in the PV industry reached a record high of $93 billion in 2011, a 13.4 percent gain over 2010 and 150 percent over 2009. This growth was forecasted to continue in 2013 with double digits growth. The solar industry is economically driven to make solar panels of the highest conversion efficiency and reliability at the lowest production cost. The Resonance Ultrasonic Vibration system addresses critical needs of the silicon-based solar industry by providing a quality control method and tool, which will improve productivity, increase reliability of products and reduce manufacturing cost of solar panels.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Ultrasonic Technologies, Inc. Wesley Chapel, Florida
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1072375
Report Number(s):
DOE/ER84790-1
DOE Contract Number:  
FG02-07ER84790
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
14 SOLAR ENERGY; solar cell; crack detection; resonance ultrasound

Citation Formats

Ostapenko, Sergei. In-Line Crack and Stress Detection in Silicon Solar Cells Using Resonance Ultrasonic Vibrations. United States: N. p., 2013. Web. doi:10.2172/1072375.
Ostapenko, Sergei. In-Line Crack and Stress Detection in Silicon Solar Cells Using Resonance Ultrasonic Vibrations. United States. doi:10.2172/1072375.
Ostapenko, Sergei. Wed . "In-Line Crack and Stress Detection in Silicon Solar Cells Using Resonance Ultrasonic Vibrations". United States. doi:10.2172/1072375. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1072375.
@article{osti_1072375,
title = {In-Line Crack and Stress Detection in Silicon Solar Cells Using Resonance Ultrasonic Vibrations},
author = {Ostapenko, Sergei},
abstractNote = {Statement of Problem and Objectives. Wafer breakage in automated solar cell production lines is identified as a major technical problem and a barrier for further cost reduction of silicon solar module manufacturing. To the best of our knowledge, there are no commercial systems addressing critical needs for in-line inspection of the mechanical quality of solar wafers and cells. The principal objective of the SBIR program is to validate through experiments and computer modeling the applicability of the Resonance Ultrasonic Vibrations system, which ultimately can be used as a real-time in-line manufacturing quality control tool for fast detection of mechanically unstable silicon solar cells caused by cracks. The specific objective of Phase II is to move the technology of in-line crack detection from the laboratory level to commercial demonstration through development of a system prototype. The fragility of silicon wafers possessing low mechanical strength is attributed to peripheral and bulk millimeter-length cracks. The research program is based on feasibility results obtained during Phase I, which established that: (i) the Resonance Ultrasonic Vibrations method is applicable to as-cut, processed wafers and finished cells; (ii) the method sensitivity depends on the specific processing step; it is highest in as-cut wafers and lowest in wafers with metallization pattern and grid contacts; (iii) the system is capable of matching the 2.0 seconds per wafer throughput rate of state-of-art solar cell production lines; (iv) finite element modeling provides vibration mode analysis along with peak shift versus crack length and crack location dependence; (v) a high 91% crack rejection rate was confirmed through experimentation and statistical analysis. The Phase II project has the following specific tasks: (i) specify optimal configurations of the in-line system's component hardware and software; (ii) develop and justify a system prototype that meets major specifications for an in-line crack detection unit, such as high throughput rate, high level of stability, reproducibility of data acquisition and analysis, and high sensitivity with respect to crack length and crack location; (iii) design a system platform that allows easy integration within and adaptation to various solar cell belt-type production lines; (iv) develop a testing protocol providing quality certification of the production-grade system. Commercial Application of the proposed activity consists of bringing to the solar market a new high-tech product based on an innovative solution and patented methodology to contribute to cost reduction of silicon solar module production. The solar industry, with crystalline silicon as a dominant segment, shows outstanding performance, with approximately 25% yearly growth during the last years. Despite a slowdown with only 5.6 GW installations in 2009, solar module production for the 2010 and 2011 years was recovered. According to European Photonics Industry Consortium new solar PV installations grow by 56% compared to 2010 reached 64.7 GW in 2011. Revenues in the PV industry reached a record high of $93 billion in 2011, a 13.4 percent gain over 2010 and 150 percent over 2009. This growth was forecasted to continue in 2013 with double digits growth. The solar industry is economically driven to make solar panels of the highest conversion efficiency and reliability at the lowest production cost. The Resonance Ultrasonic Vibration system addresses critical needs of the silicon-based solar industry by providing a quality control method and tool, which will improve productivity, increase reliability of products and reduce manufacturing cost of solar panels.},
doi = {10.2172/1072375},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2013},
month = {4}
}