Laser'Scribing'to Increase Solar Cell Efficiency
with exact grooves or uniform depth. Now the new research has developed a way to do channel scribing with the help of lasers.
Laser scribing made easy
The research team focused on ways to improve the scribing of the microchannels. Better the microchannels, more efficient will be the solar cells. They tried a process called cold ablation to use laser beams flashed for only picoseconds C quadrillionths of a second. This way, pulsing laser helped in making microchannels with exact depths and well-defined outlines without causing any damage to the ultra-thin-film solar cells and too in a very fast manner.
Superiority of the ultrashort pulse laser
The idea of using lasers for scribing the microchannels on the thin-film solar cells has been tried earlier also. But controlling the lasers to scribe exactly to the correct depth and outline was quite a difficult task. But now with the cold ablation technique and using an ultrashort pulse laser, the team found success in creating perfect microchannels. With this technique, the team was able to control the laser even at 10-20 nanometer depth.
Success of the team
The team is hoping to improve the efficiency of the thin-film solar cells and also reduce the cost factor. Ultra-short pulse laser, ultrafast laser scribing & cold ablation technique will improve the efficiency of the cells, and commercial production will be hugely benefited with this. As Professor Yung Shin puts it, The efficiency of solar cells depends largely on how accurate your scribing of microchannels is If they are made as accurately as possibly, efficiency goes up.
The research team
The research team consists of Yung Shin, Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Director of Purdue Universitys Center for Laser-Based Manufacturing, and Gary Cheng, Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering and Martin Yi Zhang, Seunghyun Lee and Wenqian Hu C graduate students. They published a paper in Proceedings of the 2011 NSF Engineering Research and Innovation Conference this January. The research has been funded by National Science Foundation with a $425,000 grant for three years.
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