Crystalline-silicon thin-film PV company Ampulse has ordered a cell process development tool from Roth & Rau MicroSystem. The system, scheduled for delivery in the first half of this year, will be installed at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's Process Development and Integration Laboratory in Golden, CO.
The AK1000 tool on order consists of a modular line of process chambers which can be combined in any number and order to form flexible inline processing systems. It can accommodate large substrates up to 480mm wide or batches of wafers, and can be configured with a variety of sources, including plasma, ion beam, sputter magnetron, and hot-wire CVD. Processes developed on the AK inline systems may be easily scaled up to high-volume production platforms.
“Ampulse is developing c-Si thin film, one of the most exciting technologies in photovoltaics, which promises to offer the efficiency of crystalline silicon, lowest module cost, and the ease of installation of flexible thin film,” said Michael Zeuner, managing director of Roth & Rau Microsystems. “We look forward to working with Ampulse and NREL to help deliver this technology to the market.”
“Customers tell us that this tool fits the needs not only of their initial R&D tool, but also for small-scale production, thereby eliminating the need to buy separate tools to bridge the gap between R&D and large-scale production,” he added.
Steve Hane, president/CEO of Ampulse, noted that his company's “next-generation c-Si thin-film technology aims to provide best-in-class combination of the three most critical metrics in solar PV—low cost, high efficiency, and flexible form factors. Roth & Rau's industry leadership in photovoltaics production equipment and adaptability of its AK inline system to meet our unique processing requirements will help us achieve our goal in delivering revolutionary c-Si thin-film technology to the market.”
Ryne Raffaelle, director of NREL's National Center for Photovoltaics (NCPV), commented that his organization is “excited to have Roth & Rau join the partnership with Ampulse to accelerate the commercialization of its c-Si thin-film technology, which is a commercialization effort that supports the U.S. Department of Energy and NREL's renewable energy goals. With higher efficiency and low total systems cost, Ampulse's c-Si thin-film has the potential to advance mass deployment of solar technology to address a wide range of market application.”