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Trumpf’s new Trumicro Series of ultra-short-pulse lasers are said to lower the manufacturing cost of photovoltaic cells, as well as enhancing their performance.

In the production of solar modules from amorphous silicon (aSi) or cadmium telluride (CdTe), conductive and photoactive films are deposited on large substrate areas, such as glass.

After every deposition, the laser subdivides the surface so that the cells created are automatically switched in series by the process sequence.

In this way cell and module tensions, depending on the cell width, can be set.

The transparent conductive oxides are usually processed with lasers in the infrared wavelength.

At typical feed rates, repetition rates of over 100kHz result.

An optimised pulse-to-pulse overlap makes for a clean kerf and minimises negative heat effects.

The compact Trumpf Trumicro Series 3000 with wavelengths of 1,064 and 532nm are suitable for P1, P2 and P3 patterning.

Due to their high pulse-to-pulse stability, these diode-pumped solid-state lasers achieve very good processing results.

They can also be easily integrated into existing systems because of their advanced cooling design.

The patterning of thin-film cells made from Cu (In, Ga) (S,Se)2, also known as CI(G)S, presents a particularly high challenge for the laser process.

The same applies to the structuring of molybdenum.

For this application, nanosecond lasers are still used but picosecond lasers offer a far better solution, according to the company.

With these lasers, the material is ablated with ultra-short pulses without significant heating of the process edge zone.

This prevents cracking, melting and exfoliation of the layers.

Trumpf Series 5000 picosecond lasers are suitable for this task.

They have a wavelength of 1,030nm for structuring molybdenum and 515nm for processing photoactive material and patterning the front of the contact.

Additionally, these Trumpf Trumicro picosecond lasers have output power up to 50W, which significantly reduces process costs.

To protect thin-film solar modules against unfavourable environmental influences – especially against moisture – a width of approximately 10mm of the layer system is ablated along the edge and covered with laminated film.

The Trumicro 7050 is recommended for this application, as it can process large areas at production speed, reliably and securely.

It generates pulses with 30 nanoseconds duration at an average power of 750W.

Up-and-coming laser applications include the selective ablation of passivated layers on crystalline solar cells.

Trumpf Trudisk lasers with ultra-short pulses and high-pulse energies are particularly well suited to this work due to their high beam quality.

The simple scalability of the laser output enables a higher production capacity to be achieved and the high beam quality in the ultra-short pulses significantly improves solar cells’ efficiency.

This will result in a significant reduction of the ‘per watt’ cost of solar-cell performance in the future.

TECHNOLOGY THAT KEEPS YOU AHEAD OF THE COMPETITION

Remaining profitable today is a challenge and staying competitive in the future requires solutions that can adapt to your every-changing business needs. The technology built into TRUMPF precision machinery gives fabricators the flexibility to increase the efficiency of their high-quality, close-tolerance part production – in small batches or high volume jobs.

TRUMPF ranks among the world's leading manufacturers of production technology and industrial lasers. Technical solutions for its customers have been the company's focus since 1923. In every technology group TRUMPF machines are designed to minimise unit costs and to provide reliability and a rapid return on investment.

All machines are designed to accept flexible and expandable automation. The choices range from simple productivity gains from features such as automatic laser nozzle exchange through to all the elements necessary for full lights out production.

In the field of CO2 and solid state production lasers the TRUMPF product spectrum is now unparalleled and its experience extends from OEM systems to small hand-manipulation processing stations through to large 5-axis machines. It has competence at any level of power from 2W to 20kW.

The production processes for which TRUMPF lasers are designed are numerous and include welding, cutting, drilling, tube processing, surface treatment, additive manufacturing and component marking.

TRUMPF punching is much more than simply making holes. The TruPunch range of machines provides complete part processing – including forming – and virtually eliminates the need for secondary processing. And in its TruMatic series these benefits are combined with laser cutting; the best of both worlds.

The TRUMPF TruBend press brakes use patented technology to ensure that the bending angle is precise, right from the start and can handle small, complex or single components cost efficiently. Completing the main technology groups are the TRUMPF TruTool range of power and pneumatic portable fabrication equipment.

Under the umbrella of TruServices TRUMPF provides a highly comprehensive range of business services to support its customers. This starts with finance – TRUMPF operates its own bank – and includes full software support both at machine and business level. A wide range of predictive maintenance and service packages are also available as is application and product specific training.

With TRUMPF nothing is left to chance. In every aspect of its business, customers can be assured of quality and exceptionally value for money.

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