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Photovoltaics Researchers Embrace Picosun's Integrated ALD Cluster System

Published on May 8, 2011 at 6:50 PM

Picosun Oy, Finland-based global manufacturer of state-of-the-art Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) equipment has won its first customers for its innovative, multifunctional, integrated ALD cluster system designed for world's leading solar photovoltaics (PV) research customers.

The cluster system comprises of four individual SUNALE ALD reactors, all capable of high speed deposition with unmatched reliability and repeatability of results whilst still not compromising low cost-of-ownership, easy operation and simple maintenance. The individual SUNALE reactors are combined into "four-leaf clover" geometry with a common central unit housing automated vacuum robot. This setup enables simultaneous running of several different coating processes with various precursors, including ozone and plasma treatments for precursors of limited reactivity and/or substrates with sensitive surface or low temperature requirement. The system can also be integrated with glove boxes and fume hoods to further increase the flexibility of operation and the variety of thin film processes. Other process modules such as pre-treatment modules, etchers and CVD systems can also be combined into this multi-purpose thin film deposition cluster.

Both in silicon and thin film (such as CIGS) solar cell industries there are several manufacturing steps that could be covered with various ALD processes: passivation layers, encapsulation layers, transparent conductive oxide films for current collecting, buffer layers, and antireflection coatings. Picosun's innovative Picoplatform Cloverleaf cluster system enables smooth handling and moving of substrates between individual reactor chambers set to deposit different materials without a vacuum break between the process steps. Diminished manual handling of substrates and their exposure to ambient air improves the process quality and repeatability, thus enabling cutting-edge solar R&D comparable to strict industrial quality standards and processing requirements.

"We at Picosun are pleased to be able to use our unrivaled ALD expertise and over three decades' experience in incomparably innovative ALD system design to speed up and boost international solar energy research", summarizes Juhana Kostamo, Picosun's Managing Director.

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