Development of nanoimprint processes for photovoltaic applications
Due to its high resolution and applicability for large area patterning, nanoimprint lithography (NIL) is a promising technology for photovoltaic (PV) applications. However, a successful industrial application of NIL processes is only possible if large-area processing on thin, brittle, and potentially rough substrates can be achieved in a high-throughput process. The development of NIL processes using the SmartNIL technology from EV Group with a focus on PV applications is described. The authors applied this tooling to realize a honeycomb texture (8  mm period) on the front side of multicrystalline silicon solar cells, leading to an improvement in optical efficiency of 7% relative and a total efficiency gain of 0.5% absolute compared to the industrial standard texture (isotexture). On the rear side of monocrystalline silicon solar cells, the authors realized diffraction gratings to make use of light trapping effects. An absorption enhancement of up to 35% absolute at a wavelength of 1100 nm is demonstrated. Furthermore, photolithography was combined with NIL processes to introduce features for metal contacts into honeycomb master structures, which were initially realized using interference lithography. As a final application, the authors investigated the realization of very fine contact fingers with prismatic shape in order to minimize reflection losses.