Umicore And INER 8” Germanium Go Solar
The collaboration is initially targeting its 8” germanium substrates at the III-V market.
Umicore Electro-Optic Materials and Taiwanese firm INER have introduced 8"germanium wafers for Concentrated Photovoltaic (CPV) cells.
The co-operation was announced at the III-V compound solar cells advanced technology seminar in Taipei, Taiwan.
In 2011 INER’s research team achieved a cell efficiency of over 37%, @500x, based on 5.5mm cells
from Umicore’s 8" germanium wafers that are cut from dislocation free Czochralski crystals. This result was also reproducible in a volume production environment.
The increased wafer size used in the production process offers the potential to reduce the process cost of CPV solar cells. One 8" wafer can produce 640pcs of 5.5mm used in a CPV cell. INER development says this indicates that 8" wafers can increase throughput by up to 30% and generate production cost savings in excess of 30% compared to processes using 4" germanium wafers.
“The era of the 8" germanium wafer is coming and we are leading the way" said Edward Yang of INER.
Umicore Technology Manager Ben Depuydt added, “Dislocation-free germanium has been the
cornerstone of the success of III-V solar cells. It is today the most widely adopted technology in triple junction solar cells and our 8" wafer technology is a real enabler for the development of CPV cells".
Umicore recently opened up world's newest dislocation-free germanium wafer production plant in North America, thereby doubling its production capacity.