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2 October 2012

Altatech introduces AltaCVD Solarlab for deposition of PV materials

Altatech of Montbonnot Saint Martin, near Grenoble, France, a subsidiary of Soitec, has introduced a multi-chamber chemical vapor deposition (CVD) system that enables the development of photovoltaic (PV) cell designs using advanced thin-film deposition of amorphous silicon and other materials. By performing all deposition processes within a single system, the AltaCVD Solarlab tool reduces cycle times and materials consumption in fabricating advanced single-junction, tandem-junction and triple-junction PV cells, says the firm.

“Extending our core CVD technology for use in solar cell development presents an additional market opportunity for us,” said Jean-Luc Delcarri, general manager of Soitec’s Altatech subsidiary. “Reducing the amount of material used in cells and improving photovoltaic conversion performance will be the keys to growth in the next few years. We look forward to continuing to apply our deposition expertise in both R&D and commercial applications for the renewable-energy industry.”

The new CVD system leverages Altatech’s patented chamber architecture and deposition technology, which enables the use of new precursor gases to achieve extremely high film uniformity and tightly controlled stoichiometry, says the firm. 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 can perform standard thermal CVD processing as well as plasma-enhanced CVD and atomic-layer deposition. These processes can be run over temperatures from 100° C to 800° C to create photosensitive films that can maximize 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 aims to begin shipping AltaCVD Solarlab by the end of 2012.

Tags: Soitec Altatech CVD PV



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