20 September 2011

Umicore and INER introduce 8” Ge wafers for CPV

At a III-V compound solar cells advanced technology seminar in Taipei, Taiwan’s Institute of Nuclear Energy Research (INER) and Belgium-based Umicore Electro-Optic Materials have announced the introduction of 8” germanium (Ge) wafers for concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) cells.

Earlier this year INER’s research team achieved a cell efficiency in excess of 37% at a concentration of 500x, based on 5.5mm cells from Umicore’s 8” germanium wafers (cut from dislocation-free Czochralski crystals). The result has also been shown to be reproducible in a volume production environment.

The increased wafer size used in production offers the potential to reduce the processing cost of CPV solar cells. One 8” wafer yields 640 pieces of 5.5mm size for use in a CPV cell. INER development indicates that 8” wafers can increase throughput by up to 30% and generate production cost savings in excess of 30% compared to processes using 4” germanium wafers. “The era of the 8” germanium wafer is coming,” says Dr Edward Yang of INER.

“Dislocation-free germanium has been the cornerstone of the success of III-V solar cells,” says Umicore technology manager Dr Ben Depuydt. “It is today the most widely adopted technology in triple-junction solar cells, and our 8” wafer technology is a real enabler for the development of CPV cells,” he adds.

Last year Umicore opened up a dislocation-free germanium wafer production plant in North
America (in Quapaw, OK, USA), doubling its production capacity.

Tags: Umicore INER Ge wafers CPV

Visit: www.substrates.umicore.com

Visit: www.iner.gov.tw

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