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18 September 2013

Smit Ovens and SoLayTec to co-develop large-area spatial ALD tool for Solliance CIGS/CZTS program

Smit Ovens of Eindhoven, The Netherlands, which supplies customized thermal equipment and processes for the photovoltaic, glass and display industries, and Eindhoven-based SoLayTec, a spin-off from Dutch research organisation TNO founded in 2010 to make atomic-layer deposition (ALD) equipment, are joining forces for large-area applications of spatial ALD. The collaboration aims to leverage the experience of both firms to allow rapid market introduction. Expected applications include buffer and barrier layers for thin-film photovoltaics (PVs) and layers for improved thin-film transistor (TFT) structures required for organic light-emitting (OLED) displays.

The process development tool that will be integrated in the existing copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) development line is part of the CIGS/CZTS program of Solliance, the European R&D consortium that focuses on thin-film photovoltaic solar energy in the ELAT (Eindhoven-Leuven-Aachen) region. The system will be used for developing alternative buffer layers as well as other layers that can improve device structure and performance.

Smit Ovens and SoLayTec have agreed that both parties will contribute to technical aspects that best match their experience. SoLayTec will focus on injector head development in order to make use of experience from its InPassion ALD product for the crystalline silicon (c-Si) PV market. Smit Ovens will take the role of machine integrator and act as contract partner to customers.

“The cooperation since it allows us to achieve two strategic targets at the same time,” says Smit Ovens’ CEO Wiro Zijlmans. “We are able to offer an advanced process solution for the buffer layer to our existing customers for CIGS crystallization. On top of that we are able to expand our market penetration in the display market, which we were already addressing with drying & sintering solutions,” he adds.

“After having successfully launched our first products in the market for crystalline PV, we now are able to use the proven deposition technology for the next market opportunity,” says SoLayTec’s managing director Huib Heezen. “Also, we are very enthusiastic about our cooperation with an experience player as Smit Ovens, as this enables us to market both our combined areas of expertise within a short time frame.”

Tags: Smit Ovens CIGS CZTS Thin-film PV




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