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Quality control for producing more powerful solar cells

Invention Number: 
A new tool to measure the photoluminescence of solar cells, quickly, with more flexibility than ever before.

The Technology is available under licence for free

Highly contaminated or defect-rich silicon such as Thin Film or at grain boundaries in multicrystalline silicon, has very short minority carrier lifetimes of often less than 1 μs.

Up until now accurate measurement of the silicon quality with commonly-used techniques has been a challenge as they are limited to longer lifetimes and larger probing areas. Often results are beyond the speed and sensitivity of the typically-used detectors and electronics making quality control difficult.

UNSW Australia researchers have developed a new multi-function Photoluminescence tool that provides the flexibility required to accurately test difficult samples and regions of particular interest.

Key Benefits

  • Time resolved measurement, minority carrier lifetime of 1 ns to beyond 1 ms
  • High light sensitivity and a wide dynamic range.
  • Useful over a range of wavelengths with high resolution.
  • Focus on small spots on the test sample of less than 40 μm in diameter.
  • Temperature control of the sample during testing.


  • Quality control and Lifetime Testing of multi-crystalline or thin film cells.
  • Detailed testing for regions of interest within cells (e.g. grain boundaries).
  • Quality control of other semiconductor devices.

The Opportunity

This technology is available for free as an Easy Access Licence to companies and individuals.