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Fraunhofer ISE launches kerfless wafer production start-up

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE said on Friday it is spinning off a new company, called NexWafe GmbH, which will transfer the German institute’s kerfless wafer technology into production.

Backed with seed funding from Fraunhofer Venture, the start-up was founded by CEO Stefan Reber, the former head of the Department Crystalline Silicon – Materials and Thin Film Solar Cells at Fraunhofer ISE.

Reber and his team have developed an epitaxial deposition process for crystalline silicon layers that is transferable to the photovoltaic (PV) industry. It focuses on atmospheric pressure chemical vapor deposition (APCVD) at temperatures up to 1,300 degrees Celsius.

NexWafe’s kerfless wafer is a drop-in replacement for conventional wafers made by a single-crystal ingot and wire sawing process. The technology allows for substantial cost reductions to be achieved in solar cell manufacturing.

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