Natcore Technology says an unnamed Chinese manufacturing partner has processed its black silicon wafers into working solar cells in an actual production line.
Five batches of silicon wafers with a black silicon etch – prepared by Natcore's scientists in Rochester, N.Y., under a license from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory – were supplied to the Chinese company for cell finishing and testing.
Two of the batches were used as controls to help interpret results. Of the three test batches, one had a diffusion using phosphorous oxychloride applied by Natcore. The remaining test batches were diffused by the Chinese company. In all cases, the Chinese firm performed the final steps necessary to turn the wafers into solar cells and to test them.
The completed cells are being returned to Natcore for further testing.
Natcore says its laser etching technology for black silicon is intended to be part of a low-temperature manufacturing process that could increase solar cell efficiencies while eliminating much of the toxic waste generated in solar cell manufacturing.