Journal article

Laser applications in thin-film photovoltaics

We review laser applications in thin-film photovoltaics (thin-film Si, CdTe, and Cu(In,Ga)Se2 solar cells). Lasers are applied in this growing field to manufacture modules, to monitor Si deposition processes, and to characterize opto-electrical properties of thin films. Unlike traditional panels based on crystalline silicon wafers, the individual cells of a thin-film photovoltaic module can be serially interconnected by laser scribing during fabrication. Laser scribing applications are described in detail, while other laserbased fabrication processes, such as laser-induced crystallization and pulsed laser deposition, are briefly reviewed. Lasers are also integrated into various diagnostic tools to analyze the composition of chemical vapors during deposition of Si thin films. Silane (SiH4), silane radicals (SiH3, SiH2, SiH, Si), and Si nanoparticles have all been monitored inside chemical vapor deposition systems. Finally, we review various thin-film characterization methods, in which lasers are implemented.

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