Austria-based Secon says it is now offering dry chemical plasma-etch equipment for photovoltaic cell production that helps yield more power per cell, boost production volumes and minimize silicon usage.
Textured multicrystalline material, either cut from ingots or in the form of thin substrates pulled out of silicon melt, yields better absorption of light due to reduced reflectivity caused by uniform texturing (surface roughness), the company says. Also, the lack of mechanical stress in production steps yields better use of material due to a drastic reduction of wafer breakage, and the processing of very thin products preserves silicon.
The equipment is also designed to operate in an environmentally friendly manner, Secon says. There is no need for acids and hydroxides, which eliminates difficult and expensive disposal methods and does not result in negative greenhouse effects, as in wet chemical production. Processing is performed via precisely dosed (with correct stoichiometry) gases, which can be disposed in a non-polluting way.