Analysis of electrically conductive adhesives in shingled solar modules by X-ray imaging techniques

Barry Hartweg, Kathryn Fisher, Sridhar Niverty, Nikhilesh Chawla, Zachary Holman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The failure mechanisms of electrically conductive adhesives (ECAs) in solar modules are difficult to study since the ECA layer is not easily accessible within the module package. In this work, we present two complementary imaging modalities—X-ray radiography and X-ray microcomputed tomography (XCT)—that reveal important morphological features of the ECA within a shingled module. X-ray radiography uses single X-ray projections to provide fast and non-destructive imaging of the shingled interconnection, illuminating the alignment of the ECA relative to the busbars, the size and shape of the ECA, and the presence of voids within it. Through X-ray radiography, we observed, for example, that the average void coverage area of ECA segments reduced from 36.7 % to 4.4 % when an ECA was cured for 60 s prior to module lamination. XCT is a three-dimensional imaging technique that can identify regions in which the ECA makes electrical contact to busbars on cells and regions in which the ECA has cracked, among other features. XCT can also be used to image the individual metal particles within ECA, from which the metal volume fraction of an ECA was found here to be 70.4 %. This is a quantity that is not often reported by ECA manufacturers but is important to ensure isotropic conduction. As X-ray projections can be performed non-destructively on full modules, the technique may be used to pinpoint ECA failures in accelerated degradation testing. XCT is complementary and is suited to forensic analysis of failing modules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number114627
JournalMicroelectronics Reliability
StatePublished - Sep 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • ECA
  • Failure mechanisms
  • Reliability
  • Shingled solar module
  • X-ray microcomputed tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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