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Direct Etching - Targeting Commercial Photovoltaic Applications

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A method for spatially-selective etching of dielectric layers without the use of a mask has been developed at the University of New South Wales (UNSW). This ‘direct etching’ method, which was first implemented using inkjet printing, is now being further developed using Optomec's Aerosol Jet Printer (AJP), in order to achieve the patterning resolution and processing throughput required for commercial photovoltaic applications. Results presented in this paper show that the use of the AJP enables etched grooves as narrow as 15-20 μm. Grooves can be etched in ∼ 75 nm layers of SiO2, SiN x , SiON x and PECVD Al2O3 dielectric layers. Furthermore, the etching process can be tailored to different applications by varying processing parameters, such as the gas flow rates, platen movement speed and number of printing passes. Finally, the accurate alignment enabled by the AJP allows etched patterns to be formed in pre-patterned surfaces, a property that may find application in a number of selective-emitter solar cell designs which use aligned screen printing for metallization.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • For more than 25 years, NIP has been the leading forum for discussion of advances and new directions in non-impact and digital printing technologies. A comprehensive, industry-wide conference, this meeting includes all aspects of the hardware, materials, software, images, and applications associated with digital printing systems, including drop-on-demand ink jet, wide format ink jet, desktop and continuous ink jet, toner-based electrophotographic printers, production digital printing systems, and thermal printing systems, as well as the engineering capability, optimization, and science involved in these fields.

    Since 2005, NIP has been held in conjunction with the Digital Fabrication Conference.

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