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Feb 18th, 2009
 
High volume CIGS manufacturing equipment drives down cost per watt while increasing cell efficiency
 
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 > Piero Sferlazzo, Senior Vice President of Veeco’s Solar Equipment business

Since joining Veeco in 2004 as VP/GM of Veeco’s PVD & ALD and Advanced Development Products, Dr. Sferlazzo has also served as VP/GM of Veeco’s MOCVD operations. Prior to joining Veeco, he successfully founded a number of companies. He has many years of experience in the development and management of process equipment for the semiconductor, data storage, and telecom industries. Dr. Sferlazzo has a Ph.D. in Physics from Brandeis University and graduated from the University of Florence, in Italy.

Veeco is the industry’s only thin film deposition equipment supplier that provides production-proven thermal sources integrated into a CIGS web coating system. This differentiation allows their FastFlexTM platform to provide CIGS customers with an excellent, high-throughput deposition solution as they move from R&D to production.
 
> YOLE
Why has Veeco chosen to enter the PV Market?
> Piero Sferlazzo
Veeco has a long history of success as a manufacturer of production-proven deposition systems. We continue to drive manufacturing innovation in many semiconductor process-related industries such as data storage and LED lighting. We do this by developing strategic relationships with our customers and providing world-class process, applications support and service.We have been in the PV equipment market for over 10 years with a successful line of products that we sell to solar cell manufacturers: thermal deposition sources for CIGS; MOCVD Systems for high efficiency CPV solar cells; and a complete suite of thin film and surface roughness metrology systems. In 2008, we expanded into the CIGS thin film systems business with the acquisition of a roll-to-roll equipment manufacturer. We recognized that customers needed complete, integrated system solutions. Our core thermal deposition technology, coupled with the roll-to-roll systems, provide customers with high volume, low cost solutions that drive down the manufacturing cost per watt.
 
> YOLE
Your new FastFlex™ tools specifically address the CIGS market. Why CIGS?
> Piero Sferlazzo
CIGS (copper, indium, gallium and selenium) solar cells have been hailed as a strong contender to become the fastest growing market for solar cells based on high efficiency and low cost manufacturing. Nanomarkets estimates CIGS production capacity reaching 1.4 GW in 2012 and 4.9 GW in 2015 (a 30 x increase over 2008’s 152 MW). CIGS solar cells also offer the broadest range of applications of any thin film technology – they can be used in solar farms, in BIPV (building integrated PV), flat and pitched roofs, rooftop shingles and in portable devices. However, one of the requirements that has been identified as critical to sustained growth in CIGS manufacturing is a standardized toolset. We believe with over 40 years of experience building thin film vacuum deposition equipment, combined with our expertise in roll-to-roll handling and thermal source technology, Veeco is in an ideal position to provide the industry with the lowest cost of ownership tools and the processing capability that will deliver the highest efficiency solar cells.
 
> YOLE
What is unique about Veeco’s manufacturing tools for CIGS?
> Piero Sferlazzo
First, and most important, by integrating our thermal deposition source into our web coating technology, we are able to optimize film properties, process controls and costs. In essence, we drive the transition from the laboratory scale to production. Our FastFlex line of Web Coating Systems provides our customer with a full set of tools for all vacuum steps required for the manufacture of a CIGS thin film stack. Typical thin film CIGS solar cells are made of a molybdenum (Mo) layer, followed by the CIGS absorber layer, cadmium sulfide (CdS) and transparent conductive oxide (TCO). We provide the tools that deposit Mo, CIGS and TCO layers. The sputtering systems for Mo and TCO have nearly 2x the throughput of competitive products on the market and have the largest installed base for this type of system in the CIGS market. The high throughput, small footprint, and high uptime contribute to what we believe is the lowest cost of ownership in the market. Veeco’s FastFlex CIGS tool has a modular design and can be configured with multiple deposition zones delivering high process flexibility and high throughput. Each zone supports a full compliment of Cu, In, Ga and Se thermal sources. These sources have the largest capacity in the market, and in conjunction with our tool design, are capable of sustaining very long deposition campaigns with very low downtime.. One CIGS tool with three deposition zones can generate up to 25 megawatts of annual output. A properly configured CIGS solar cell factory with an output of ~50MW will include approximately 4 FastFlex tools from Veeco, two CIGS deposition tools and one each of the Mo and TCO tools.
 
> YOLE
Can you tell me anything more about your Thermal Deposition Sources?
> Piero Sferlazzo
Veeco has been a leader in thermal deposition sources for the production and R&D market for over 20 years. For the CIGS market we have leveraged our production capacity MBE sources and optimized them for high deposition rates in a corrosive environment. We have been working with the key players in the industry for over 5 years and now have released our PV-SeriesTM sources with capacities up to 15L. We are currently testing our next generation source technology that will improve the material utilization by 50%, provide higher deposition rates and enable a more compact system design. This new source technology is critical to driving down the cost of ownership of CIGS deposition systems.
 
> YOLE
Why should someone planning to manufacture CIGS solar cells call Veeco?
> Piero Sferlazzo
As I mentioned earlier, Veeco understands the value of forming strategic partnerships with our customers from our experience in similar industries. We have the capacity, the worldwide infrastructure and financial stability to meet the growth needs of the industry and our customers. Our global service and support ensures fastest time to market, we offer a full family of products with high throughput and low CoO, complete and integrated CIGS thermal deposition systems, and we have an aggressive roadmap to keep pace with industry cost goals.
 
> YOLE
What’s next? Do you have any new products being introduced this year?
> Piero Sferlazzo
Yes, later this year we will leverage our leadership in source technology to introduce a CIGS manufacturing solution for glass substrates called FastLine™. In addition, Veeco is dramatically increasing our R&D spending in solar so we can continue to introduce new products to this market in the future. Contact Veeco Dr Piero Sferlazzo, psferlazzo@veeco.com www.veeco.com/solar/yole3
 

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