New Product: Continuous direct current power supply from Hüttinger enables homogenous layers

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Product Briefing Outline: Hüttinger is launching a new generation of continuous direct current power supplies called the TruPlasma DC Series 3000 NEW. Available with outputs of 20 to 160KW, these generators deliver reliable, accurate power over a broad impedance range. The generators are best suited for coating processes in solar cell manufacturing or in coating architectural glass, where stability and continuous throughput are essential. The new power supplies have very fast response times with minimal residual arc energy.

Problem: To obtain a reliable, high-efficiency thin-film solar cell, good uniformity of the deposited layers and the need for the layer to be defect-free are crucial. Defects such as particles and splashes are created inside the plasma when an unwanted local discharge–a so-called arc–occurs. This arc can be eliminated by switching off the power supply. The faster this is done, and the less energy that is delivered into the arc, the smaller and more insignificant the defect creation will be. For this reason, as well as for precise control of electrical power, advanced, fast-reacting arc management is very important to attain high-quality solar cell coatings. In the past, homogenous, thin layers in the sputtering processes were best achieved using expensive pulsed direct current power supplies with high arc rates.

Solution: Hütttinger has improved the arc management system so that in an arc event, the new ‘CompensateLine’ better compensates the energy stored in the output circuits of the power supply and cables connecting the power supply and cathode. Consequently, the system features very fast response times and minimal residual arc energy. In addition, CompensateLine ensures that the arc energy is not dissipated. Instead, the energy is recirculated to the power supply and into the process. The advantage is twofold: First, the generator is more energy-efficient than air-cooled power supplies. Second, the generator emits less heat, considerably reducing the risk of overheating. Production is claimed to be more profitable than with comparable power supplies, even in processes with high arc rates, such as in TCO (transparent conductive oxide) sputtering, these generators are designed to produce thin, homogenous layers.

Applications: Wide range of sputtering material applications, including TCO sputtering.

Platform: TruPlasma DC Series 3000 NEW has an output voltage of 1000V. Utilizing state-of-art, switch-mode power conversion technology, the generators operate at high efficiency resulting in less heat dissipation and lower operation costs. Due to their small size and water cooling, these generators can be easily integrated into new or existing systems.

Availability: April 2010 onwards.

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