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20 February 2014

Soitec’s Altatech subsidiary partners with Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin and installs new CVD system

Altatech Semiconductor S.A. of Montbonnot, near Grenoble, France (a subsidiary of Soitec since January 2012) and Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie (HZB, a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres) have launched a collaborative partnership for R&D on materials for next-generation high-efficiency solar cells, including new classes of materials and innovative device structures for photovoltaic and photocatalysis applications.

As part of the joint effort, Altatech will install a new single-substrate multi-chamber AltaCVD chemical vapor deposition system at HZB’s newly constructed Energy Materials In-situ Laboratory (EMIL) - at the synchrotron light source BESSY II facility - and will work with the institute to investigate new materials deposition processes, functional interfaces and device structures for solar energy conversion and storage.

The AltaCVD system will be used at EMIL to deposit amorphous silicon (alloys), transparent conductive oxides and ultra-thin dielectrics used in fabricating next-generation solar energy devices. The new EMIL building is adjacent to the third-generation storage ring BESSY II, and the cluster tool will be directly connected to an X-ray analytical end-station that accesses a dedicated beam line from BESSY II. Altatech and HZB will conduct atomic-layer deposition (ALD), plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) and physical vapor deposition (PVD) on substrates ranging from small research samples up to fully industry-compatible 6-inch wafers and use EMIL’s analytical capabilities to analyze material and interface properties in between successive processing steps.

“EMIL aims at exploring materials for high-efficiency photovoltaic cells and new catalytic processes for future solar energy generation and storage concepts,” says professor Klaus Lips, head of the EMIL project and HZB’s Advanced Analytics Group. “We will develop and characterize these materials with basic energy research methods, but prepare them with industrially-related methods to ensure rapid industrial implementation,” he adds. “The AltaCVD system provides us with a unique combination of a highly flexible design in terms of temperatures, precursors, plasma cleaning etc, with a fully industrial-compatible deposition technology,” Lips continues.

“Our collaboration with the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin allows us to apply our advanced material-deposition technology at a state-of-the-art synchrotron radiation facility,” says Altatech’s general manager Jean-Luc Delcarri. “Together, we are opening the door to a new era in advanced renewable-energy development that will help researchers to tackle the challenges of future world energy needs.”

The versatile AltaCVD tool provides the processing flexibility and performance needed for both research projects and volume manufacturing, says Altatech. The platform, which can be configured with up to six chambers, uses single-wafer deposition technology in developing new process integration while safeguarding against unacceptable contamination and defectivity. The CVD system is designed to deposit thin- and thick-film materials with high uniformity and film-thickness control (key parameters needed for solar, semiconductor and MEMS applications).

See related items:

Altatech introduces AltaCVD Solarlab for deposition of PV materials

Soitec completes acquisition of Altatech

PVcomB starts production of 30cm x 30cm thin-film PV modules

NREL and Helmholtz Association collaborating on next-gen PV

Tags: Soitec Altatech CVD PV

Visit: www.soitec.com

Visit: www.altatech-sc.com

Visit: www.helmholtz-berlin.de

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