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CVD system to aid in solar cell optimisation, development

Posted: 03 Oct 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:chemical vapor deposition? transparent conducting oxide? photovoltaic cell? AltaCVD Solarlab tool?

Altatech has recently introduced a multi-chamber chemical vapor deposition (CVD) system that enables photovoltaic (PV) cell manufacturers to develop and optimise their solar cell designs. The CVD system uses an advanced thin-film deposition of amorphous silicon and other materials.

The new AltaCVD Solarlab tool, which performs all deposition processes within a single system, reduces cycle times and materials consumption in fabricating advanced single-junction, tandem-junction and triple-junction PV cells.

Using the tool, customers can deposit transparent conducting oxide (TCO) films that deliver the superior optical characteristics, high doping mobility and smooth, defect-free surfaces needed to optimise efficiency of their solar cells.

In creating its newest CVD system, Soitec's Altatech subsidiary leveraged its patented chamber architecture and deposition technology, which enables the use of new precursor gases to achieve extremely high film uniformity and tightly controlled stoichiometry. These capabilities have been production-proven on the company's AltaCVD platform, which has been used in both engineering and volume manufacturing of advanced semiconductor devices since 2008.

The AltaCVD Solarlab system has the versatility to perform standard thermal CVD processing as well as plasma-enhanced CVD and atomic-layer deposition. These processes can be run over a wide spectrum of temperatures, from 100 C to 800 C, to create photosensitive films that can maximise the efficiency of PV cells in converting sunlight to electricity. In addition, the system can handle a variety of substrates, including transparent glass and both round or square silicon wafers with thicknesses ranging from 150 microns to several centimeters.

Soitec plans to begin shipping AltaCVD Solarlab systems to customers by the end of this year.

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