Solar Metrology expands XRF platform to integrated linear CIGS thin-film applications

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Product Briefing Outline: Solar Metrology has expanded its SMX XRF tool portfolio for film composition and thickness measurement of CIGS photovoltaic deposition processes with the addition of the System SMX- Linear ISI. SMX LINEAR ISI is said to be fast, flexible and easily integrated into any vacuum deposition tool, vacuum process station, or point of a vacuum process line.

Problem: The properties of TFPV films are difficult to measure due to their optical properties. This is compounded by the high-volume production requirements of thin-film substrates and the impact that the wrong composition can have on decreasing efficiency and manufacturing yield. A fast and repeatable copper-to-gallium ratio determination with both cross-web and cross-panel gradient analysis capability, for example, would help to achieve significant yield improvements and conversion efficiency gains in production.

Solution: The SMX-Linear ISI is an in situ x-ray fluorescence (XRF) metrology tool platform that provides cross-web or cross-panel gradient measurement of CIGS composition and thickness measurements for thin-film solar PV metal film stacks on flexible roll-to-roll substrates, such as stainless steel, aluminum, and polyimide, or rigid substrates such as float glass.

Applications: Typical measurement applications include molybdenum thickness and all CIGS alloys and/or film combinations and final CIGS formulations.

Platform: SMX Linear ISI platform does not affect the deposition process since all components reside outside of vacuum for optimum performance and serviceability. Linear ISI configurations feature three standard ports, with additional ports available on request. A freestanding control station incorporates the ISI computer system, user interface, power supply, and supporting electronics. A control harness carries power and communication cables from the control station interface panel to the x-ray head. The platform provides a production-ready suite of film thickness and composition measurement tools for research and process development, in-process monitoring, and post-process quality control.

Availability: August 2010 onwards.

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