Silicon Applications

Solar technology promises to fundamentally change the way we harness energy. Optitune nano-coatings bring that promise to life.

Aside from harnessing the sun's power with conventional solar cells, the Solar industry is pushing forward rapidly with new crystalline silicon forms of solar cell technologies; these further reduce the cost of manufacturing and drive continuous improvements in the efficiency and utility of solar devices.

The overall performance of a solar cell device as a means of generating power is dependant upon a number of variables that challenge the industry:

01 Light utilization
02 The quality of surface of the silicon substrate
03 The cost of manufacturing the solar device

The Optitune LUX family of nano-coatings for silicon have been developed to provide answers to these challenges.

An untreated silicon surface reflects away over 35% of the light incident upon it. Traditional coating methods using Silicon Nitride typically reduce unwanted reflection to 8%; however the Optitune LUX family of coatings can reduce that wasted light by a further half to only 4%. The coating layers also enable an improved surface of the silicon and deliver higher open-circuit voltage.

The processes of improving the surface of silicon for photovoltaic purposes are commonly called passivation and hydrogenation; this is usually achieved by the vapour deposition of Silicon Oxide and Silicon Nitride on the surface of the silicon. Optitune LUX coatings can fully replace these processes and provide the added benefit of thinner silicon and reduced wafer "bowing" due to stress relaxation from the LUX coatings.

All of the Optitune products are applied in atmospheric conditions via spray, dip, slot or roller coating processing, thereby removing completely the need for the expensive vacuum vapour deposition process. This gives a near 30% reduction in the cost of materials and a further 50% reduction in manufacturing costs for the coating process.

Further application work is underway, in conjunction with the ANU (Australian National University), Optitune (BraggOne) LUX coatings are helping make high performance low cost solar energy a reality.

Read this article for more information.

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