Technical Note:
Why M2 Matters

Article Summary

Industrial Laser Solutions,May 2010

Why M2 Matters

Rajesh Patel, James Bovatsek

Because they can offer significant cost advantages, thin-film solar panels are expected to gain market share in the push for alternative energy. Laser systems will play a critical part in the manufacturability of these thin-film photovoltaics. Lasers are used for scribing the thin-film layers, basically “sculpting” the devices from the conducting and semiconducting layers. Choosing the correct laser system is critical for achieving a high-yield robust process. From the study presented in this article, it is clear that choosing a laser system with a better beam quality, that is lower M2, will deliver better depth of focus to allow precise machining over varying substrate thicknesses for higher yields. Better beam quality will enable a more robust, higher quality scribe process that will increase overall processing efficiency and ultimately lower overall manufacturing costs.

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