AUA’s Engineering Research Center recently completed a research project for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The multi-year project required the design and prototyping of a laser probe system that allows for real-time detection of defects in solar cells made from silicon wafers.  The equipment can be used for quality control during the manufacturing process or as an instrument for researchers investigating the causes of defects in the crystalline material during the production process. 
Dr. Artak Hambarian, the Principal Investigator of the project, says “the device consists of several parts: There is a precisely balanced high spin turntable (up to 4000 rpm) with a probe arm, accurate to 1 micrometer, that scans the surface of the silicon. We have also developed control and Graphical User Interface software. The apparatus has a data acquisition system and 3-channel laser probe.”  NREL is currently testing the system with the aim of commercialization.

The high precision turntable The system setup at NREL