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91/2086 Solar cells (2), monocrystalline silicon, laser grooved buried contact, silicon / metal, Professor Martin Green / Dr Stuart Wenham, University of New South Wales, Kensington, New South Wales, Australia, 1987. Click to enlarge.

Monocrystalline laser-grooved solar cells

    The laser grooved solar cells made at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) were the first to have their metal contacts buried below the surface, leaving more area free to capture energy from the sun. This innovation increased the cells' efficiency (the proportion of the incident energy converted to electricity) relative to cells of similar basic type. Increasing efficiency is a major aim of solar research, as it is one way to improve the economics of using solar energy.

    The first solar …

    Summary

    Object No.

    91/2086

    Object Statement

    Solar cells (2), monocrystalline silicon, laser grooved buried contact, silicon / metal, Professor Martin Green / Dr Stuart Wenham, University of New South Wales, Kensington, New South Wales, Australia, 1987

    Physical Description


    Each cell is a dark grey square of boron-doped silicon, 400 micrometres thick, with 28 equally spaced fine metal strips (electrical contacts) in laser-cut grooves on the top surface parallel to one edge, and three equally spaced metal strips perpendicular to that edge. The contacts are made of nickel, copper or silver. The rear surface of the cell is also an electrical contact made of metal.

    Production

    Notes

    The cells were made in the Centre for Photovoltaic Devices and Systems laboratory at the University of New South Wales in the eastern Sydney suburb of Kensington in 1987.

    A cylindrical crystal of pure silicon doped with boron (to create vacancies in the atomic structure of the silicon) was grown in the laboratory using the Czochralski process. To make each cell, a wafer was sliced from the crystal, a laser was used to cut grooves in one surface, it was exposed to phosphorus vapour (to form a layer of electronic-rich silicon on the surface), the metal contacts and an anti-reflection coating were applied, and the cell was cut from the wafer.

    The cells were part of a research and development program, led by Professor Martin Green, aimed at improving the economics of solar energy by increasing solar cell efficiency and reducing manufacturing costs. Stuart Wenham and Martin Green received an Australian patent for the laser grooved solar cell in 1984, and they later patented a series of improvements in the technology.

    History

    Notes

    The cells were tested at the Centre for Photovoltaic Devices and Systems before being donated to the Museum.

    Source

    Credit Line

    Gift of Centre For Photovoltaic Devices And Systems, 1991

    Acquisition Date

    20 December 1991

    Cite this Object

    Harvard

    Monocrystalline laser-grooved solar cells 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 28 July 2021, <https://ma.as/115521>

    Wikipedia

    {{cite web |url=https://ma.as/115521 |title=Monocrystalline laser-grooved solar cells |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=28 July 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}