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IMEC Presents Large-Area Solar with Conversion Efficiency of 18.4 Percent

At the European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference (Hamburg, Germany), IMEC presents a large-area solar with a conversion efficiency of 18.4%. Compared to the standard i-PERC cell process, IMEC's solar cell features a shallow emitter and advanced front metallization using copper plating. The results were obtained on large-area cells (125cm2), proving the industrial viability of the process.

IMEC's i-PERC cell with shallow emitter and Cu metallization

The shallow emitter results in an enhanced blue response, and thus in a higher conversion efficiency than with a standard emitter. For the front contacts, a novel metallization stack is added which is applied to local openings in the antireflective coating. Dr. Joachim John, team manager at IMEC: “Using copper instead of silver adds to the sustainability of solar cell production. IMEC was able to do this because it has extensive experience with copper plating on silicon”. A similar efficiency result was obtained with screen printed contacts, but the long-term sustainability and low-cost potential of Cu-based contacting solutions and the fact that this was a first result obtained without dedicated fine-tuning makes this result particularly encouraging. ”

Dr. Jef Poortmans, IMEC's Photovoltaics Program Director, states “These cells and the new metallization stack involved are a further successful step in IMEC's target to develop ever more cost-effective, efficient crystalline Si solar cells – eventually targeting cells that are only 40µm thick with efficiencies above 20%.

IMEC is a world-leading independent research center in nanoelectronics and nanotechnology. IMEC is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, and has offices in Belgium, the Netherlands, Taiwan, US, China and Japan. Its staff of more than 1,650 people include over 550 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2008, IMEC's revenue (P&L) was 270 million euro.

IMEC's More Moore research targets semiconductor scaling for the 22nm technology node and beyond. With its More than Moore research, IMEC invents technology for nomadic embedded systems, wireless autonomous transducer solutions, biomedical electronics, photovoltaics, organic electronics and GaN power electronics.

IMEC's research bridges the gap between the fundamental research at universities and R&D in the industry. It has unique processing and system know-how, intellectual property portfolio, state-of-the-art infrastructure, and a strong and worldwide network position. This makes IMEC a key partner for shaping the technology of the future.

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