21 December 2011

Imec and Flamac to co-develop new thin-film PV materials

Nanoelectronics research center Imec of Leuven, Belgium is working with Flamac, a division of SIM vzw (Strategisch Initiatief Materialen in Vlaanderen, or Strategic Initiative Materials in Flanders), to develop novel semiconductor materials for solar cell applications. Within the collaboration, novel materials are screened as an alternative for the standard solar cells made of copper indium gallium and selenium (CIGS).

Subsidized by the Flemish Government, Flamac is a research center in high-throughput methodologies with a mission to enhance strategic collaboration between knowledge institutes and the materials and chemical industries in Flanders. It recently installed a PVD (physical vapor deposition)/PE-CVD (plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition) coater that allows the automated deposition of a variety of thin-film materials. The platform consists of eight process chambers enabling the study of PVD and PE-CVD coating processes. The coating system, combined with the variety of high-throughput analytic tools available at Flamac, represents a powerful platform for accelerated screening of novel materials, says Imec.

Imec’s research on solar cells focuses on improving the state-of-the-art efficiency and manufacturability of a number of key technologies, most notably silicon-based solar cells, and thin-film solar cells such as organic solar cells and printed inorganic cells based on nanoparticle inks. Its thin-film solar cell activities are integrated in the Solliance collaboration platform, which aims to strengthen the position of the Eindhoven-Leuven-Aachen triangle (ELAT region) as a world player in thin-film PV. Solliance aims to realize this by joint use of state-of-the-art infrastructure, alignment of research programs, and close cooperation with the solar business community.

“Enabling R&D centres like Imec to speed up their materials development is exactly what Flamac aims to achieve,” says Flamac’s manager Johan Paul.

“We consider the cooperation with Flamac as an essential part in the broadening of our PV-portfolio,” comments Jef Poortmans, Program Director Energy at imec. “By combining Flamac’s expertise in high-throughput material research with our expertise in thin-film solar cells, we are convinced that we will achieve interesting results in a shorter timeframe,” he adds. “This broadening allows us to maximize the valorization opportunities in Flanders and is a new important step in the strengthening of the ELAT region in the domain of thin-film solar cell technology as we strive to together with Solliance.”


Visit: www.imec.be

Visit: www.flamac.be

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