Four German companies, Avancis, Singulus Technologies, Heraeus Noblelight and the IfG Institute for Scientific Instruments, have come together to work on the Photovoltaics Innovations Alliance CIS Cluster Tool project. The project aims to develop new manufacturing procedures for CIS semiconductors panels in order to produce high-efficiency thin-film solar modules. With a three-year investment financed by €2.9 million from the Photovoltaics Innovations Alliance and contributions from participating companies, the companies plan to develop an industrial manufacturing process based off findings from a planned demonstration plant.
New plant concepts and processes, full process chains and in-situ analytics will be the main focus of the companies during the tool cluster project. Under the new plant concepts and processes objective, research of innovative rapid thermal processing (RTP) plant concepts and processes, which can be applied on an industrial-scale and are in-line capable will be investigated so that the highest level of efficiency in short cycle times can be achieved.
The new full process chains goal will see selenide coating combined with the RTP of CIS semiconductors so that the process control can be increased. This should lead to a higher efficiency and improved plant technology and allow for manufacturing costs to be condensed. Additionally, the new in-situ analytics focus will see research of new in-situ measurement processes that will improve process control and the understanding of physicochemical processes in semiconductor production.