Next Energy, the independent EWE Research Centre for Energy Technology has asked Leybold Optics to provide its Phoebus lab tool by the beginning of 2012 for Next Energy’s R&D purposes involving thin-film solar cells. As Next Energy is concerned with silicon thin-film technology, its scientists are looking to increase the efficiency of the cells, which they state would then lead to a reduction in the cost of the technology.
The Phoebus lab tool is said to be able to coat substrate with up to a 5ml thickness and a surface of up to 300x300ml in addition to any other small substrate in different shapes. Leybold Optics advised that the system works with plasma enhanced chemical vapour deposition (PECVD) allowing for the tool to have the same scalable process chamber design, while additionally supplying tandem cells to thin-film solar cells with triple-junction cells and to individual layers.
The company additionally noted that individual vapour deposition in the separate process chambers deters cross-contamination between the process chambers. The glass substrates are continuously kept in an uninterrupted vacuum and at a constant and stable temperature.
Dr. Karsten von Maydell, head of the photovoltaic division at Next Energy, commented on the future of Leybold Optics, stating, “The flexible Phoebus lab tool offers Next Energy an ideal base for accelerating its research and development work in the photovoltaic and silicon thin film technology field. We will also use the scalable possibilities of the system to further optimise tandem solar cells and will use innovative silicon alloys to further the development of triple-junction solar cells.”