KLA-Tencor’s PVI-6 inspection system has 4x measurement accuracy improvement

  • KLA-Tencor ICOS division's PVI-6 inspection wafer system.
    KLA-Tencor ICOS division's PVI-6 inspection wafer system.

Product Briefing Outline: The newest addition to KLA-Tencor’s ICOS division's PV wafer inspection systems, the PVI-6 provides the capability to inspect solar wafers and cells at higher speed and accuracy for all stages of the production process. These new capabilities enable solar manufacturers to achieve substantial yield improvements and more accurate product classification that includes up to a 4x measurement accuracy improvement and an 80% reduction in calibration time, enabling faster product ramp during initial installation.

Problem: Improving yield while maintaining high throughput is critical to low cost highly efficient solar cell fabrication. Traditionally, inspection systems sacrificed accuracy for throughput or visa versa. A wide variation in inspection tool types deployed throughout the process flow, limits faster product ramp and overall validity of inspection results and diagnosis.

Solution: The PVI-6 offers solar wafer and cell manufacturers greater levels of accuracy to enable substantial yield improvements better product classification. With up to a 4x measurement accuracy improvement, the system delivers higher yield and improved end-of-line cell classification. Calibration time has been decreased by approximately 80%, according to the company, which enables faster product ramp during initial installation. Tool matching and central module management, offers consistent and easily attainable results in large production environments. The PVI-6 software includes improved ease of use and analytical tools to increase the overall yield of the solar cell production process. The system also supports tool matching and central module management, that provides consistent and easily attainable results in large production environments, across multiple production lines.

Applications: Optical in-line dual sided inspection of photovoltaic (PV) wafers and cells, which includes the inspection of bare solar wafers as well as after silicon nitride (SiN) coating and after each metallization step and end-of-line cell classification.

Platform: KLA-Tencor's automated P-16+ stylus profiler is used, which has a low noise floor which improves measurement sensitivity to characterize small topography. It has less than 6A step height repeatability ensures stringent process control and can provide 2D stress measurement and analysis minimizes defects and improves yield

Availability: March 2009 onwards.

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