Manufacturing Solar Cells: Assembly and Packaging
Solar cells grew out of the 1839 discovery of the photovoltaic effect by French physicist A. E. Becquerel. However, it was not until 1883 that the first solar cell was built by Charles Fritts, who coated the semiconductor selenium with an extremely thin layer of gold to form the junctions. The device was only about 1% efficient. Subsequently Russian physicist Aleksandr Stoletov built the first solar cell based on the outer photoelectric effect (discovered by Heinrich Hertz earlier in 1887). Albert Einstein explained the photoelectric effect in 1905 for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921. Today’s solar cells can be described as the coexistence of three different generations: crystalline silicon, thin film, and dye sensitized. Along with the development of solar cells, there has also been a parallel development of solar cell manufacturing technologies. Assembly and packaging engineers have played a significant role in developing these manufacturing techniques, creating incredible potentials in every generation of the solar business.