A European research team working within the EU-funded (H2020) research project ALABO managed to deliver impressive results in the development of a precise and most important "gentle" laser process, for interconnecting solar cells directly produced on barrier films.

An image of laser structuring

One of the biggest challenges faced within the complex laser process, is selectively removing layers of the OPV (organic photovoltaic) layer stack in the nanometer range without harming the functionality of the barrier layer, which is directly underlying and ultra-thin. The barrier and its performance are crucial, as it directly effects the lifecycle of the solar cells.

The main objective of the ALABO project was to develop a process that could achieve this by using standard industrial laser systems. The results by the team met the highest project expectations. "By changing certain parameters in processing, we were able to achieve damage-free structuring on the barriers. The findings from the ALABO project are a door opener for roll-to-roll direct encapsulation", says Merve Anderson, project manager of Heliatek GmbH. "We were able to prove that the existing layer structure can be processed with industrial-grade laser systems. Only in conjunction with these excellent partners, was Heliatek able to develop such a complex laser process."

The service life of solar cells can significantly increase, if the direct encapsulation is later transferred to production. The higher efficiency of materials in use, saves additional resources in the energy-efficient production of solar cells, ultimately making the product cost effective.

The basis for the success of this project was the concentrated research expertise of all participating organizations. Involved in the ALABO research project were the HOLST Center, the research institutes CNRS, CEA and Fraunhofer IWS Dresden, as well as the companies Sorter, 3D-Micromac AG and Heliatek GmbH.

Advanced Laser Ablation on Barrier films for Organic and Large Area Electronic Devices
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Fraunhofer IWS
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