Fused silica rollers target solar thin film processing - Photovoltaics World
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Fused silica rollers target solar thin film processing

October 16, 2009 -- Morgan Technical Ceramics has developed fused silica rollers designed for use in solar energy applications. Traditionally used for handling sheet glass for automobiles, appliances and architectural applications, the fused silica rollers feature what Morgan claims are outstanding mechanical properties and a special surface quality that make them especially suitable for use in both diffusion and thin film processing of solar panels.

The fused silica rollers move hot glass panels through the deposition process used in manufacturing thin film photovoltaic (TFPV) cells. The thermal stability of silica has a coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) of <1 x 10-6/°C --lower than any other ceramic material. This low CTE combined with its chemical compatibility with glass, says Morgan, ensure the glass panels remain flat during the manufacturing process.

Fused silica rollers are also used to move silicon wafers through the acid doping process where corrosive acid and high temperatures are required.  The thin silicon wafers maintain their shape due to the low coefficient of thermal expansion and chemical resistance of the fused silica rollers.

The rollers are manufactured under the Haldenwanger brand name in Morgan Technical Ceramics' facilities in Yixing, China and Waldkraiburg, Germany. Outer diameters range from 15-110mm, and lengths range from 305-4100mm. 

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