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Solar & Alternative Energy

Q-Switched DPSS lasers for solar thin-film scribing


Newport Corporation's Spectra-Physics® Lasers Division announces the HIPPO 532-14, a new addition to its HIPPO(TM) family of Q-switched diode-pumped solid-state (DPSS) industrial lasers. The HIPPO 532-14 provides 14W of 532nm output at 100kHz with a short pulse width of <30ns. Used for solar thin film scribing applications, the new laser is ideal for high speed, multi-beam scribing of P2 and P3 layers in thin film a-Si and CdTe photovoltaic structures. Scribe speeds in excess of 12 m/s have been achieved on tandem-junction a-Si P2 layers with isolation lines ~65 microns wide and ~2.5 microns deep.

Unique features of the HIPPO 532-14 include its short pulse width (<30ns at 100 kHz) and high peak power (up to 16kW at 50 kHz); both help reduce undesired thermal effects such as heat affected zones, material recast, and micro-cracking of the substrate. The exceptional pulse-to-pulse stability of the HIPPO 532-14 at higher pulse repetition rates (up to 200kHz) translates to excellent scribe consistency at high processing speeds on solar panels. The TEM00 beam profile and superior beam quality (M2<1.3) translates to a larger depth of field for the HIPPO 532-14, making it more forgiving of variations in glass substrate flatness and surface irregularities. With proprietary EternAlign(TM) permanent optics mounting technology and field replaceable key components such as diodes, fibers, and harmonic modules, the HIPPO 532-14 is rugged and has a low cost of operation.