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BTI introduces multi-function inspection and analysis system

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BT Imaging introduces solar photovoltaic industry's first multi-function inspection and analysis system for solar cell production line lab

Sydney, Australia [WorldofRenewables.com]

BT Imaging Pty Ltd (BTi), the world’s leading supplier of luminescence-based inspection and quality control systems for the photovoltaic manufacturing industry, today introduced the LIS-P2 platform, the solar photovoltaic industry’s first multi-function inspection and analysis system designed for significantly speeding up failure analysis and sampling in production. Available in two configurations, the LIS-P2 platform has capabilities in a single tool that can replace the current operator-intensive practice of using four or more tools in the cell production line lab. The LIS-P2w can inspect samples at all process stages, including as-cut wafers; the LIS-P2x inspects samples post-diffusion and onwards to finished cells. As the industry moves towards higher efficiency solar cells, the imaging-based information provided by the LIS-P2 platform has the potential to enable faster and better decision making in solar cell production, resulting in cost savings and increased yield.

“The LIS-P2 platform is a direct response to our customers’ need to increase solar cell production yield,” stated Ian Maxwell, chief executive officer of BT Imaging. “We look forward to working with our customers to help them rapidly and accurately identify and diagnose production line problems.”

Solar cell manufacturers currently use several lab tools in the cell line for failure analysis. These typically include electroluminescence (EL), series resistance (RS), lifetime sensors, etc. The use of the current tool set is very operator and time-intensive, and also has critical data limitations. For example, the existing lifetime tool typically only provides an average lifetime number for the wafer and no spatial information is available, preventing operators from carrying out accurate diagnosis of process issues or sampling of process steps for quality. The Series Resistance tool that is used today is very slow and destroys the cell during measurement. As the industry moves towards higher efficiency cells, high-resolution imaging based information is going to be essential to drive better decision making in production.

One Tool With the Capability of Several Tools

The LIS-P2 platform offers photoluminescence (PL), EL, RS, quasi steady state photo conductance (QSS-PC), and lifetime imaging capability in a single tool, eliminating the need for production cell line labs to maintain and operate several tools. Available in two easy-to-use configurations, the LIS-P2 provides the cell line with the required data substantially faster than current tools, with higher resolution, with no sample damage, and without the need to load the samples on several different tools.

The LIS-P2x does PL and lifetime inspection of processed wafers post diffusion and onwards to finished cells. It also does EL and EL-based series resistance (eRS) on finished cells. Most cell line labs do not have the capability to take high resolution lifetime maps or PL images of in-process wafers. The LIS-P2x enables this new capability, allowing users to quickly diagnose process issues and to sample process steps for quality. The primary applications for this tool are line commissioning, material qualification, trouble-shooting, and line sampling for quality control and process control.

The LIS-P2w has the same functionality as the LIS-P2x and, in addition, can inspect as-cut wafers. The additional applications for this tool include incoming wafer qualification. Wafer quality is automatically determined with BT Imaging’s electrical wafer quality metric, with is integrated into the tool.

Speeds Up Failure Analysis and Sampling in Production

The speed and flexibility of the LIS-P2 platform delivers a dramatic improvement in time to achieve results. Data is available much faster, enabling higher levels of sampling, rapid conclusions and actions, leading to higher yield and efficiencies. With 1MP images for all inspections, the LIS-P2 platform provides faster and higher resolution at speeds in seconds versus minutes for alternative separate tools. Sequential measurement capability within the one tool significantly reduces operator time and errors. The measurements the user wishes to perform can be defined in a single recipe, such that at the click of a button all measurements are taken automatically for a given sample. This provides the measurement data to the user very quickly, without the need to reload the sample or perform measurements separately.

The LIS-P2 platform will start shipping to beta customers in the fourth quarter of 2010. BT Imaging is accepting orders now. The LIS-P2 will be on display at BT Imaging’s booth—Level 2, Hall 3, Stand 8—at the 25th EU PVSEC 2010 in Valencia, Spain from September 6 through September 9, 2010. For more information, or to request a demo, please contact Wayne McMillan, vice president of sales and marketing at wayne.mcmillan@btimaging.com, or visit www.btimaging.com.

About BT Imaging

BT Imaging (www.btimaging.com) designs and develops luminescence-imaging systems for the photovoltaic manufacturing industry. BT Imaging’s systems are used for research, product and process development, production manufacturing inspection, and quality control of silicon blocks, wafers, photovoltaic cells and photovoltaic modules. Originally developed at the world-leading Centre of Excellence for Advanced Silicon Photovoltaics and Photonics at the University of New South Wales, by Thorsten Trupke, BT Imaging’s chief technical officer, and Robert Bardos, the company’s vice president of research and development, BT Imaging’s patented photoluminescence technology uniquely allows real time electronic inspection of every wafer or solar cell processed through a manufacturing line. Headquartered in Australia, BT Imaging has a world-class R&D centre with close ties to the University of New South Wales; a sales and marketing operation based in California; and distributors in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China and South East Asia. BT Imaging’s management team brings together outstanding expertise in semiconductor physics, chemical engineering, photovoltaics, image processing, inspection, and yield.

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