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Digitally printed high viscosity metallization pastes on Si solar wafers with sub 20um resolution?

The standard metallization technology for Si solar cells is screen printing. Today, it can print 35um linewidths and is expected to evolve down in production to 20um linewidths. The productivity for a 182x182 mm2 wafer is today around 7000 wafers per hour, setting the industry benchmark for any alternative technology.

In the past, inkjet printing tried to offer an alternative, but could only handle low viscosity nanoparticle (expensive) inks with low aspect ratio. It was proposed to use inkjet as the technology to print seed layer, but inkjet – as a tool for PV metallization- has not yet gained significant traction, despite more a decade of development.

Fraunhofer ISE has developed a novel multi-head non-contact digital printing based on high-resolution dispensing. This technology – spun off into HighLine Technology GmbH – can digitally print high-aspect ratio (:1) ultra narrow linewidth (17-19um) metallization lines using high viscosity solar Ag pastes. This technique may improve upon the linewidth capability of screen printing whilst being inline and non-contact, which can lead to lower breakage/reject rate especially for ultrathin wafers.

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