With climate change a concern for many around the world, huge efforts have been made over the years to find and establish sources of energy other than burning coal and oil. Solar cells are one such alternative. While silicon-based solar cells have been around for a long time, new concepts focus on making flexible, light-weight products that can be applied in situations where the classic efficient but heavy and rigid Si-cells cannot.
One such approach is the CIGS solar cell, i.e. copper indium gallium selenide. This can be manufactured on flexible plastic films, as the absorbing layer is only a few microns thick, thus still being flexible. In fact, the technology for producing this kind of solar cell in a roll-to-roll (R2R) process has been in use for several years now. 3D-Micromac provided the first R2R tool for CIGS solar cell development back in 2015. Using web widths of up to 1.3m, the process has now reached a level of maturity that makes large-scale production a viable option.
In the production process of CIGS solar cells, there are a number of steps that are often performed using laser ablation. These process steps are usually referred to as P1, P2, P3 and P4.