Natcore begins production of its “intelligent” AR coating station



Natcore Technology has set up shop at MicroTech Systems Fremont, California facility in order to begin work on its first production model of its intelligent liquid phase deposition (LPD) processing station that intends to grow antireflective (AR) coating on silicon wafers. The LPD process grows the AR coating in a warm chemical bath, which is said to eliminate the need for silane, diminish energy needs and lower silicon use.

MicroTech’s intelligent process control will be used in the LPD technology, which is to be built as an enclosed system utilizing a pre-clean subsystem for wafer cleaning before wafers are brought into the LPD process. Additionally, the system will feature Natcore’s sizing and process control input with MicroTech’s drying module for low metallic contamination.

Natcore states that its device will have the ability to monitor the coating process by means of MicroTech’s spectrometer-based technology, which will measure the thickness of the AR coating on the wafer while it is in the chemical bath. This allows for the composition and duration of the bath to be changed so that cells can be more easily generated.

The device will be produced in two phases. The first phase will be conducted over eight to ten weeks concluding in a manual development system that will measure 8ft x 6ft x 6ft. Once completed scientists and engineers from both companies will come together to see if any changes need to be applied and how much automation they want to add during the second, and final, phase. 

In its final composition the production system will measure 20ft x 6ft x 8ft that will be a self-contained modular system able to recycle its waste and generate 3,000 AR-coated wafers per hour.

“We're building our first production model in the U.S., rather than at our China joint venture, for reasons of time, quality, and logistics,” says Chuck Provini, Natcore's president and CEO. “We want to set the standard for quality and reliability. By building it in California, we can keep a close eye on the machine's development without the disruption created by a 12-hour time difference and the need to travel halfway around the world. And by choosing MicroTech, we are assured of the highest quality.”

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