January 4, 2016 – Westford, MA
BrightSpot Automation has delivered its first ContactSpot system for measuring the contact resistivity of solar cell metallization. The system has been installed at the University of Central Florida (UCF) as part of a program at the US Photovoltaic Manufacturing Consortium (PVMC).
BrightSpot has been actively working together with faculty and student researchers at PVMC on TCAD modeling of the contact resistance test structures, and work will now progress toward correlating the modeling with experimental results from the ContactSpot system. The results of this work will lead to improved algorithms for the ContactSpot system and a better understanding of contact resistivity measurements and techniques in general.
Recent work at BrightSpot has resulted in improved probehead designs for better accuracy and repeatability, and improved fixturing and procedures to now allow the loading, aligning, and measurement of 10 fingers on a test strip in less than 30 seconds. Mapping across a full strip cut from a cell with over 80 fingers can be performed in under 5 minutes.
Dr. Andrew Gabor, CTO of BrightSpot: “A key requirement in developing a successful piece of characterization equipment is to make the measurement easy and fast to perform. We have taken a painfully challenging, slow, and error-prone manual probing process and turned into a simple, fast, repeatable semi-automated process at low-cost. It is our hope that measuring contact resistivity on a subset of experimental cells becomes a standard approach for all solar cell R&D groups. Likewise, in a production environment, we suggest that manufacturers regularly cut strips from broken cells in the production line for improved quality control using our ContactSpot tool.
Dr. Kris Davis, Crystalline Silicon Metrology Program Manager for PVMC: “We just completed a large experiment for an industrial partner where we measured the contact resistivity of thousands of silver gridlines on surfaces ranging from P-doped Si, to B-doped Si, to transparent conducting oxides. The time required to learn how to operate the system was minimal due to the simple design, clear instructions, and instructional videos. The measurements went quickly and smoothly, and the analysis was aided by clean organization of the data within spreadsheets with templates for easy formatting and graphing of the results. We look forward to presenting our experimental and modeling results at various conferences this year.”
The U.S. Photovoltaic Manufacturing Consortium (PVMC), headquartered in New York State, is an industry-led consortium for cooperative R&D among industry, university, and government partners to accelerate the development, commercialization, manufacturing, field testing, and deployment of next-generation solar photovoltaic (PV) and building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) systems. Through our technology programs, advanced manufacturing development facilities, system demonstration, and reliability and testing capabilities, PVMC is a proving ground for innovative solar technologies and manufacturing processes, as well as PV product development and deployment. Further information about PVMC can be found at www.uspvmc.org.
About BrightSpot Automation, LLC
BrightSpot Automation was founded by a team of experienced photovoltaics professionals with the goal of providing the PV industry with innovative manufacturing and measurement tools with a focus on improving solar panel durability and performance. The company is based in Westford, MA.