IMEC (Leuven, Belgium) has developed a new method to produce ~50μm thin crystalline silicon wafers for use in solar cells. The process involves mechanically initiating and propagating a crack parallel to the surface of a Si wafer. The method makes use of industrially available tools, such as a screen printer and belt furnace, and is potentially kerf-loss free. Adding an ultra-thin wafer or foil of active silicon on top of a low-cost substrate is a solution to reducing the amount of high-grade silicon used in solar cells.
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