A new cluster tool for EMIL

A cluster tool for the research on new classes of materials and device structures for photovoltaic and photocatalysis applications. (Source: Altatech)

The Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie (HZB) and Altatech, a subsidiary of Soitec, have launched a collaborative partnership to research and develop materials for the next generation of high-efficiency solar cells, including new classes of materials and innovative device structures for photovoltaic and photocatalysis applications.

As part of the organizations’ joint effort, Altatech will install a new single-substrate multi-chamber solution, an AltaCVD system, at HZB’s newly constructed Energy Materials Insitu Laboratory (EMIL) at the synchrotron light source BESSY II facility in Berlin. Together, HZB and Altatech will investigate new materials-deposition processes, functional interfaces and device structures for solar energy conversion and storage.

Altatech’s new AltaCVD system will be used in HZB’s EMIL lab to deposit amorphous silicon (alloys), transparent conductive oxides and ultra-thin dielectrics used in fabricating next generation solar energy devices. The CVD system will be hosted by the new EMIL building, adjacent to HZB´s third-generation storage ring BESSY II. The cluster tool will be directly connected to a state-of-the-art X-ray analytical end-station, which accesses a dedicated beam line from BESSY II. The partner organizations will conduct atomic-layer deposition, plasmaenhanced chemical vapor deposition and physical vapor deposition on substrates ranging from small research samples up to fully industry-compatible six-inch wafers and use EMIL’s outstanding 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. We will develop and characterize these materials with basic energy research methods, but prepare them with industrially related methods to ensure rapid industrial implementation,” says Prof. Klaus Lips, head of the EMIL project and HZB’s Advanced Analytics Group. “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.”

“This order reinforces the AltaCVD system’s leadership position in advanced materialdeposition applications,” says Jean-Luc Delcarri, general manager of Soitec’s Altatech subsidiary. “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. 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.”