Ion Implant Technology and ITS Applications to Solar Cells

by Michael Crowley

The once assumed fact, that Photovoltaic (PV) solar technologies could not be cost effective and energetically viable, is slowly crumbling. Relatively low-cost and powerful solar cells are produced in large quantities throughout the world, making the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) of these cells competitive with other energy-related technologies. A similar thought process was assumed when discussing the possibilities for ion implant technology in solar applications. This assumption is slowly being proven wrong too. Ion implanting technology is slowly becoming a favorable method for doping formation in semiconductors (silicon is commonly used in present PV cells). By using this technique, higher-efficiency solar cells can be mass produced. Two hurdles must be faced in order to make this technology more accessible: high costs and low throughput. These hurdles have been faced most head on by a semiconductor company, Kingstone. By developing a simpler ion implanter, Kingstone believes they can cut 90% of their current operations cost while producing a very high thoroughput (>1500 wafers/hour). Continue reading