13 Mar '12, 11am

Slicing Silicon Thinner to Cut the Price of Solar Cells

Twin Creeks A new method for cutting thin silicon wafers could result in big savings for solar cell makers. A California company has unveiled a radical new way to make the silicon wafers that are the basic ingredient of most solar cells, cutting silicon consumption by 90 percent and eliminating the need to use glass and heavy backing to keep the cells rigid. Twin Creeks Technologies of San Jose says it is ready to ship equipment that can peel off layers of silicon that measure just 20 microns thick. That compares with the 200-micron thickness in common use. At 20 microns, equivalent to about one-fifth the thickness of a layer of paint, the silicon can bend without cracking. The company is not the first to think of using less silicon; last year the Department of Energy backed a Boston-area company that found a way to cast the wafers at 200 microns . The conventional method ...

Full article: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/13/slicing-silicon...

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