A Method for Producing Thin Layers of Crystalline Silicon without Wire-Sawing

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Professor Tonio Buonassisi
Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT
External Link (meche.mit.edu)
Mark Winkler
Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT
Riley Brandt
Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT
Managed By
Christopher Noble
MIT Technology Licensing Officer - Clean and Renewable Energy
Patent Protection

Method for producing thin layers of crystalline or polycrystalline materials

PCT Patent Application WO 2013-063360

Method for producing thin layers of crystalline or polycrystalline materials

US Patent 8,969,183

This invention relates to a method for creating thin, crystalline or polycrystalline layers of a material such as silicon, and more particularly to such a method that requires neither high temperature furnace cycles nor wire-sawing methods.


The invention can be used in photovoltaic devices such as single or dual omojunction devices, tunable voltage devices, and wafer splitting, among others.

Problem Addressed

Wire-sawn wafers are limited in thickness because of breakage and mechanical stability.  Additionally, during the slicing process, a large fraction of material is lost as waste.


This invention describes a method to create thin, crystalline Si (tc-Si) layers, many of which can be grown and separated from the same crystalline silicon (c-Si) template.


  • Rapid production of tc-Si layers that do not require sawing wafers individually from a c-Si boule
  • Enables thinner layer thicknesses than wire-sawing methods
  • Cheap, quick, and lower energy consumption
  • Significantly reduces kerf loss and silicon cost in modules
  • Easy to form production line around the process, and template is re-used
  • Enables more diverse array of silicon feedstock as well as more control over doping
  • Easily fits into existing cell and module supply chain