Schmid’s system, called the DW PreTex, is designed to roughen the surface of wafers so that they can later be textured. Schmid say that the process is cost effective and can easily be implemented as the final processing step in a wafering lab, or indeed the first step in a cell manufacturing facility.
“We have processed samples for leading wafer and cell manufacturers,” says Dr. Christian Buchner, head of Photovoltaics at Schmid. “With DW PreTex, our customers achieve more uniform surfaces than by texturing slurry cut wafers.”
The company says it has already received its first orders for 500 MW production capacity, and that it expectes to receive an additional 5 GW by mid 2017.
Several manufacturers, including SolarWorld, have invested in diamond wire saw technology, which can significantly reduce the cost of wafer production. The smooth surface left behind by diamond wire sawing, however, has caused problems for manufacturers at the texturing stage. Schmid now claims to have solved this with an innovative process relying on materials commonly used in the PV industry.