The current manufacturing process for solar panels using interdigitated back contact (IBC) silicon solar cells involves a multi-step metallization and interconnection process in which a substantial amount of silver is used. This work focuses on a new process using conductive adhesives (CA) which would increase efficiency and lower cost through a one-step metallization and interconnection process that combines with encapsulation using little silver and only requiring metal patterning on the back sheet or back glass. It would also not require direct metallization of the silicon, which would result in fewer defects, while increasing voltage and therefore efficiency. Silver-coated Poly(Methyl Methacrylate) Microsphere (AgMS) and indium powder are the primary materials used as the conductive particles in an ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA)/toluene adhesive. The CA is prepared by mixing the components in toluene. The resulting mixture is used to produce 300μm thick CA sheets using a universal applicator, cut into pieces, and pressed between a piece of glass with coplanar Ag electrodes and a silicon wafer at varying temperatures and pressures. This yields ~3 Ωcm2 for both the AgMS and indium fillers. Significantly lower values are required for the target application, and possible new approaches in attaining lower resistivity are discussed.


Chemistry | Physics


Manuel Schnabel

Lab site

National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Funding Acknowledgement

This work was authored by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, operated by Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC, for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) under Contract No. DE-AC36-08GO28308. Funding provided by U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office. The views expressed in the article do not necessarily represent the views of the DOE or the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government retains and the publisher, by accepting the article for publication, acknowledges that the U.S. Government retains a nonexclusive, paid-up, irrevocable, worldwide license to publish or reproduce the published form of this work, or allow others to do so, for U.S. Government purposes. The 2018 STEM Teacher and Researcher Program and this project have been made possible through support from Chevron (www.chevron.com), the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation (www.marinesanctuary.org), the National Science Foundation through the Robert Noyce Program under Grant #1836335 and 1340110, the California State University Office of the Chancellor, and California Polytechnic State University in partnership with NREL. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funders.

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