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BC OEM helps solar cell producers improve manufacturing yield


A BC-based tech company has created a control systems device that stands to save the global solar industry millions in production costs.

Decima Gemini’ consists of a specialized pair of Decima CD measurement heads that enables the sheet resistance of the wafers’ back-surface field and emitter to be measured accurately and simultaneously.

Aurora Solar Technologies Inc. of North Vancouver BC produces a family of measurement and control solutions that allows solar cell producers to improve manufacturing yield, lower costs, decrease waste and attain higher margins. The firm was founded in 2008 by CEO Michael Heaven, P.Eng., MBA, along with a team of experienced leaders in process measurement, semiconductor manufacturing and industrial automation.

The technology behind Aurora Solar’s inline measurement, visualization and control systems is built on a quality control system for solar cell manufacturing. In process terms, this involves non-contacting mapping of wafer performance to optimize the diffusion process while using an ultra-high line speed measurement system, Decima. The company has lately introduced an enhanced version of its Decima inline measurement system.

Aurora Solar Tech’s system is called ‘Decima Gemini’

Bifacial solar cells have an open and active backside which enables collection of reflected light available from the earth, rooftops, etc. generating up to 25% more energy than traditional cells. Aurora’s system, called ‘Decima Gemini’, consists of a specialized pair of Decima CD measurement heads. With this novel system, the sheet resistance of the wafers’ back-surface field and emitter are measured accurately and simultaneously. Each Decima Gemini system is managed and controlled as a unit by Aurora’s Veritas process visualization software.

This unique measurement capability results from Aurora’s patented Infrared Reflectometry measurement technology, which measures doped semiconductor layers without contacting the cell or the need for an electrical junction between doped layers. Because of this, the Decima can accurately measure the bifacial cell’s back-surface field without interference from wafer resistivity variations – a crucial need for this type of application. No other back-surface field measurement technique is currently available without the complicated use of monitor wafers that reduce production yield and prohibit complete monitoring of production.

The Decima Gemini product is designed as a unit to fit above and below a wafer conveyor, and measures 100 percent of wafers at full production line speeds. Aurora’s Veritas™ process visualization software provides process engineers and operators with a simple, single point to monitor and control the critical back-surface field and emitter formation processes. Furthermore, the Decima Gemini systems provides spatially-resolved measurements to allow manufacturers to observe and control intra-wafer variations.