UNSW School of Photovoltaic & Renewable Energy Engineering
PL imaging going downstream: Outdoor Module Inspection in Full Daylight
Thorsten Trupke - UNSW SPREE & BT Imaging

Thorsten Trupke, at UNSW SPREE, 20 May 2021

Thorsten Trupke (59Min)


Professor Thorsten Trupke UNSW SPREE and BT Imaging


Photoluminescence (PL) imaging on crystalline silicon wafers and solar cells was proposed and first demonstrated experimentally at UNSW around 2005. Since then, this measurement principle has been adopted rapidly as an extremely fast and efficient research and development tool for photovoltaic devices. A wide range of specific quantitative analysis methods that rely on PL imaging are now used for the characterisation of ingots, wafers, and both partially and fully processed solar cells in R&D and in high volume manufacturing on a daily basis.

The application of PL imaging to entire modules was considered impractical until recently, not least due to the perceived need to illuminate an entire module uniformly with monochromatic light. Line scan PL imaging on industrial size modules was demonstrated as a practical solution to that problem at UNSW for the first time a few years ago. This particular technical implementation of PL imaging has a range of particular advantages in comparison to conventional PL imaging and also compared to the simpler and therefore more commonly used electroluminescence imaging technique. The application of line scan PL imaging to industrial crystalline silicon PV modules will be described and some examples will be reviewed in this presentation.

More recently, the application of PL imaging for module characterisation was taken yet another step further. With the expected massive uptake of photovoltaics as a mainstream source of electricity, particularly in Australia, quality testing of installed modules in the field will become more relevant in the near term. Given the wealth of information about material and device defects contained in luminescence images, PL imaging is an ideal candidate for routine inspection of crystalline silicon PV modules and for O&M of PV power plants. As will be shown, outdoor PL imaging in full daylight, using the sun as the sole excitation source, while challenging, is technically feasible. Various innovative methods developed by the PL team at UNSW for the acquisition of high quality PL images outdoors and in full sunlight will be described and demonstrated.

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Brief Bio

Thorsten Trupke is a Professor at the School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering at UNSW, where he leads a research team of approximately 15 staff, students and postdoctoral fellows. He is also co-founder and Chief Technical Officer of BT imaging, Sydney based technology company providing photoluminescence imaging systems to the Photovoltaic R&D community and to PV manufacturers.

Thorsten is most well-known for the invention and first demonstration of photoluminescence imaging and various associated analysis methods, which have truly revolutionized the measurement and characterization of silicon samples and devices in PV research and development worldwide. His widely published work has been recognized by numerous awards, including the 2019 Clunies Ross Award by the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering. He was also recently announced as the recipient of the very prestigious 2021 IEEE William R Cherry Award.