12 February 2010


Smit Ovens wins repeat thermal processing order for CIGS PV mass production

Smit Ovens of Eindhoven, The Netherlands has agreed a deal to supply a major existing customer with several further thermal process solutions, covering vapor transport deposition (VTD) systems for the mass production of copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film photovoltaic (PV) cells as well as a scaled-down system (suitable for research into process optimization) for the deposition of selenium and the crystallization of CIGS precursors.

The scaled-down deposition system is based on a standard mass production system, and can enable the customer to develop process optimizations that can be easily transferred to a real-world production line, says the firm.

The VTD systems will be used for depositing the selenium layer following deposition of the copper, indium and gallium precursors. After this, rapid thermal processing (RTP) is used for optimal crystallization during soaking. Smit Ovens says that its systems ensure maximum flexibility in temperature and timings for subsequent soaking and cooling. With its background in the glass industry, the equipment’s flexibility provides fine control so that large glass substrates cool uniformly without risk of deformation or breakage, claims the firm.

“This repeat order underscores the strong relationship we have with this customer, which aims to be a leading player in the global CIGS cell market,” says Smit Ovens’ CEO Wiro Ziilmans. “Thermal processes are a key way to achieve competitiveness in this growing market. We’re already seeing cell efficiencies of 10–12%,” he adds. “With advance thermal processes, manufacturers can get close to production costs of $1 per Watt – a crucial threshold for creating a mass market for thin-film CIGS photovoltaics.”

See related item:

Smit Ovens supplies thermal processes for Jenn Feng’s CIGS PV production

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