Optomec, a company focused on printed electronics for solar, display, aerospace and life science applications, has entered into an exclusive OEM partnership agreement with Manz Automation AG to jointly pursue applications in the solar market.
As part of the agreement, Manz will integrate Optomec's patented M3D Aerosol Jet deposition system into its back-end solar cell manufacturing lines to allow contact-free deposition of metal collector lines. Optomec says its M3D printing solution is able to print much finer lines than is currently possible with traditional screen-printing.
The narrower, high-integrity collector lines have higher conductivity and a lower shadowing effect, thereby increasing photovoltaic cell efficiency, the company adds. In addition, because the process is non-contact, Optomec's M3D process can print on thinner wafers with less breakage than screen-printing techniques. The Optomec print solution, together with an additional electroplating process, has shown efficiency improvements of 0.5% to 1%.