Altatech, a subsidiary of Soitec, announced that it has introduced a multi-chamber chemical vapor deposition (CVD) system that enables photovoltaic (PV) cell manufacturers to develop and optimize their solar cell designs using advanced thin-film deposition of amorphous silicon and other materials.
By performing all deposition processes within a single system, the new AltaCVD Solarlab™ tool reduces cycle times and materials consumption in fabricating advanced single-junction, tandem-junction and triple-junction PV cells.
Using the AltaCVD Solarlab, customers can deposit transparent conducting oxide (TCO) films that deliver the superior optical characteristics, high doping mobility and smooth, defect-free surfaces needed to optimize efficiency of their solar cells.
In creating its newest CVD system, Soitec’s Altatech subsidiary leveraged its patented chamber architecture and deposition technology, which enables the use of new precursor gases to achieve extremely high film uniformity and tightly controlled stoichiometry. 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 has the versatility to perform standard thermal CVD processing as well as plasma-enhanced CVD and atomic-layer deposition. These processes can be run over a wide spectrum of 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 plans to begin shipping AltaCVD Solarlab systems to customers by the end of this year.