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14 November 2007

SPI Lasers Investigates Solar Cell Applications - New Results in Processing Silicon as used in Solar Cell Production

Work conducted by Dr. Tony Hoult at the US applications facility of SPI Lasers has shown promising results in processing polycrystalline silicon 0.2-0.8mm thick, as used in solar cell production. Using a 200W CW-M 1070nm fibre laser with a novel cutting technique, cutting speeds of up to 6m/min on 200µm silicon ribbon have been readily achieved.

Analyses of the cuts show very smooth surfaces with minimal debris or spatter, 40µm kerf with no appreciable taper. All this indicates a promising and somewhat surprising new application for these fundamental wavelength fibre lasers.

SPI has joined with the Cambridge Institute of Manufacturing in the UK, recent purchasers of 200W SPI Fibre Lasers, and other laser based research institutes around the world with similar equipment, to conduct more detailed tests further trials.

Dr Bill O'Neill, of the CIM said: "The current laser cutting process employs expensive DPSS lasers which require higher levels of maintenance and are considerably slower. The early promise shown by the SPI Laser trials will prove of real benefit to a rapidly growing sector which aims to reduce cost, increase throughput and improve product energy conversion efficiency".

Said Jack Gabzdyl, Business Development Manager of SPI Lasers, "In addition to the silicon cutting, SPI Lasers see a number of new exciting opportunities within the solar industry for fibre lasers including; thin film removal, edge deletion and silicon scribing and are looking forward to delivering these to the market."

SPI are now talking with companies to conduct field trials. The company would like to extend this invitation to device and component manufacturers, academic intuitions and system integrators from all four corners of the globe to work with SPI on their own application specific trials. The fast track way to conduct application trials is to take advantage of SPI's free of charge, no obligation proof of concept and try before you buy programs. SPI provides a progressive program to support academic & not for profit research centres.

Both the proof of concept and try before you buy' programs mentioned here can be found by clicking on the SPI web site on www.spilasers.com and registering your details.

Contact: John Tinson
E: john.tinson@spioptics.com


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