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Creating Patterns in Silicon by Ink Printing

Invention Number: 
Printed Ink Based Patterning of Silicon for Solar Cells and Circuits

The Technology is available under licence for free

UNSW researchers have developed a new method to pattern silicon wafers through the use of printed functional inks

This new method uses standard inkjet printing to create highly detailed patterns on silicon for use in metallisation (e.g. for contacts on solar cells). The resulting pattern is more simple to produce and results in finer features such as lines down to ~40 µm in width. 

The process has been tested in the lab using off the shelf equipment and has potential benefits for improving efficiency and lowering costs in the production of commercial silicon solar cells.

Key Benefits
  • Simplified Process – As compared to similar methods, such as standard photolithography
  • Can be aligned on existing features and allows for more complex patterning (e.g. IBC cell structures)
  • Applicable for high throughput manufacturing with state of the art industrial tools.
  • New patterns can be edited by software and applied instantly with zero added cost compared to mask based photolithography
  • Eliminates the need for a photomask while maintaining high resolution.
  • Processing temperature is below 140 ˚C making this a technology that can be suitable for various applications

Potential Applications

  • Patterning for solar cells front and rear contacts
  • Creation of complex masks using solicon for solar cell cor circuit design
  • Patterning for printed circuit boards

The Opportunity

This technology is available for free as an Easy Access Licence.  UNSW is seeking a partner to license this technology or to work with the researchers to further develop this technology.