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SPi vFinal DR 2/9/09 11:14 Page 15
Enabling solar manufacturing
The PV industry has developed with a range of processes to achieve similar goals.
Dr. Jack Gabzdyl, Product Line Manager at SPI Lasers discusses how fibre lasers are
beginning to show promise in multiple applications for solar manufacturing and are
enabling manufacturing advances in variety of ways.
he need for clean green power is
unquestionable and solar is the natural
torch bearer. The solar industry has been steadily
growing over the past few decades and even with
the recent hiatus caused by a global economic
down turn predictions are that growth is once more
just around the corner.
The pace of technological development is
staggering and the industry is fuelled by an ever
growing number of technology start ups convinced
that they have the newest mousetrap to offer
higher efficiency and lower cost towards to the all
Issue IV 2009
encompassing goal of grid parity.
Industrial lasers are one segment that are playing
an important role as technology enablers by giving
process developers the tools with which to
manufacture products. The array of lasers can be SPI’s has a range of CW (continuous wave) and
quite bewildering spanning a wide range of pulsed fibre lasers that have been increasingly
wavelengths from the ultraviolet to the far infrared, adopted in PV manufacturing for a broad range of
but fundamentally they provide a concentrated solar applications both in R&D and in volume
energy source that can be tailored to specific production. The compact nature of these lasers,
materials processing applications. often the size of a shoe box, and the high wallplug
efficiency make them ideal for integration into
Latest light production equipment. These lasers can be used
The most recent innovation in laser technology has for a diverse range of applications such as: cutting,
been the advent of fibre lasers. These lasers welding, soldering, scribing, micro-machining,
typically operate in the infra red at 1.06µm marking, annealing and thin film ablation.
wavelength that has been shown to be particularly
versatile with the ability to perform a wide range of The current solar market is roughly divided
potential applications. These lasers also offer the between silicon and thin film based technologies
lowest cost of ownership and the highest beam and in both areas fibre lasers are finding numerous
quality or brightness at this wavelength. applications.
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