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Inkjet Masking for Industrial Solar Cell Processes

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Masking by inkjet printing has potential benefits for solar cell manufacturing by improving the conversion efficiency and production yield. In industry and on lab scale it has been shown that there are many applications for inkjet masking to improve the solar cell efficiency. These applications include honeycomb texturisation, selective emitter, plating of front side electrodes and using inkjet masking for low-cost rear-side patterning for backcontact cells. Key success factors for inkjet masking are its small feature size and high flexibility. Furthermore the contact-less print method is in line with the general trend towards thinner wafers to reduce the material costs.

However, inkjet technology is initially developed for graphical printing, which has less demanding print reliability criteria. In the photovoltaic (PV) industry one malfunctioning nozzle in the inkjet printing system can result in significant decreased device performance or clear visual defects. Therefore the transition from graphical printing to solar cell production cannot be made without a significant improvement in reliability.

In 2011 OTB Solar B.V. started the development of the PiXDRO JETx, a high volume industrial inkjet printing system (up to 2400 wafers/hour) which addresses inkjet masking as a first application. For this application a joint development with Océ Technologies targets to demonstrate an inkjet print reliability and accuracy which meets the standards for solar cell manufacturing. The use of self-diagnosing print heads of Océ, redundant print strategies and the automation from OTB Solar form the basis to combine high reliability with industrial throughput and the printing of fine structures with a drop placement accuracy of 7.5μm 3sigma.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • For more than 30 years, IS&T's series of digital printing conferences have been the leading forum for discussion of advances and new directions in 2D and 3D printing technologies. A comprehensive, industry-wide conference that brings together industry and academia, this meeting includes all aspects of the hardware, materials, software, images, and applications associated with digital printing systems?particularly those involved with additive manufacturing and fabrication?including bio-printing, printed electronics, page-wide, drop-on-demand, desktop and continuous ink jet, toner-based systems, and production digital printing, as well as the engineering capability, optimization, and science involved in these fields. In 2016, the conference changed its name formally to Printing for Fabrication to better reflect the content of the meeting and the evolving technology of printing.

    Please note: For purposes of its Digital Library content, IS&T defines Open Access as papers that will be downloadable in their entirety for free in perpetuity. Copyright restrictions on papers vary; see individual paper for details.

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