Kahl am Main, August 3, 2011, SINGULUS TECHNOLOGIES (SINGULUS) has further advanced its wet-chemical batch cleaning and etching machine for silicon wafers. The core of the modified SILEX system is a new IPA-free texturing process offering substantial cost advantages compared to traditional etching systems. This texturing process applied by the subsidiary SINGULUS STANGL SOLAR (SINGULUS STANGL) completely refrains from using flammable, volatile solvents such as Isopropanol (IPA) and enables a stable, wet-chemical texturing process for silicon wafers on the basis of commercialized additives.
With the application of this alkaline texturing process the etching solution lifetime is tripled for the modified SILEX etching system with a shortening of the etching duration at the same time. Accordingly, the production costs for mono-crystalline silicon solar cells are substantially reduced. The first machine was certified by a large Asian customer and successfully passed the final acceptance test (FAT).
The new generation of the SILEX machine is characterized by a multitude of advantages compared with traditional wet-chemical texturing systems: due to the lack of volatile, easily inflammable solvents the construction of the system as well as the process control are facilitated. The new texturing process provides extremely stable and reproducible processing results. In particular in terms of the achieved surface quality of the silicon cells, the etching machine meets the highest demands of the photovoltaics industry. Last but not least, the applied processing chemicals make the waste disposal of etching solutions easier compared to traditional systems. These factors are reflected in high cost efficiency of the new texturing process.
The new SILEX systems achieves an output of up to 3,000 wafer per hour and is characterized by low scrap rates of less than 0.05 percent as well as homogenous etching results. With a wafer thickness of around 150 µm the new SINGULUS STANGL plant meets the current requirements of modern mass production in the silicon solar technology. The compact size as well as the modular design enable a space-saving and efficient integration of the machine into existing production lines.
Source: SINGULUS TECHNOLOGIES AG