Photoluminescence Imaging for the In-Line Quality Control of Thin-Film Solar Cells

Johanna Zikulnig, Wolfgang Mühleisen, Pieter J. Bolt, Marcel Simor, Martin De Biasio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Renewable energy sources such as photovoltaic (PV) technologies are considered to be key drivers towards climate neutrality. Thin-film PVs, and particularly copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) technologies, will play a crucial role in the turnaround in energy policy due to their high efficiencies, high product flexibility, light weight, easy installation, lower labour-intensiveness, and lower carbon footprint when compared to silicon solar cells. Nonetheless, challenges regarding the CIGS fabrication process such as moderate reproducibility and process tolerance are still hindering a broad market penetration. Therefore, cost-efficient and easily implementable in-line process control methods are demanded that allow for identification and elimination of non-conformal cells at an early production step. As part of this work, a practical approach towards industrial in-line photoluminescence (PL) imaging as a contact-free quality inspection tool is presented. Performance parameters of 10 CIGS samples with 32 individually contacted cells each were correlated with results from PL imaging using green and red excitation light sources. The data analysis was fully automated using Python-based image processing, object detection, and non-linear regression modelling. Using the red excitation light source, the presented PL imaging and data processing approach allows for a quantitative assessment of the cell performance.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2022


  • CIGS
  • CdS
  • thin-film solar cells
  • photoluminescence
  • Python
  • image-processing


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