FUJIFILM Dimatix, the world's leading supplier of drop-on-demand inkjet printheads for industrial applications, today announced that its cartridge-based Dimatix Materials Printer (DMP) has been used in the world's first known demonstration of inkjet technology for manufacturing photovoltaic solar cells.
The use of inkjet technology to fabricate the highly efficient solar energy cells has been called a “breakthrough” by Konarka Technologies, Inc. of Lowell, Massachusetts, which innovated the development and commercialization of Power Plastic®, a material that converts light to energy.
“Demonstrating the use of inkjet printing technology as a fabrication tool for highly efficient solar cells and sensors with small area requirements is a major milestone,” commented Rick Hess, president and CEO of Konarka. “This essential breakthrough in the field of printed solar cells positions Konarka as an emerging leader in printed photovoltaics,” Hess said.
Researchers from Konarka Technologies published the results of using FUJIFILM Dimatix inkjet technology as a fabrication tool for the controlled deposition of its photovoltaic material in the journal, Advanced Materials (Volume 19, Issue 22, Pages 3973-3978). According to the company, the demonstration confirms that organic solar cells can be processed with printing technologies with little or no loss compared to “clean room” semiconductor technologies such as spin coating. In addition, inkjet technology is very promising for fabricating photovoltaics because it is compatible with various substrates and it does not require additional patterning.
The Dimatix Materials Printer is a turnkey, bench-top materials deposition system that leverages FUJIFILM Dimatix’ industry-leading ink jet technology and Shaped Piezo Silicon™ MEMS fabrication processes in depositing picoliter-sized droplets of functional fluids on all types of surfaces. By employing single-use cartridges that researchers can fill with their own fluid materials, the DMP system minimizes waste of expensive fluid materials, thereby eliminating the cost and complexity associated with traditional product development and prototyping. The DMP is suitable for prototyping and low-volume manufacturing, and the technology is scalable from R&D to production.