The German wet processing equipment producer RENA GmbH and Brabant Development Agency (BOM) have invested in SoLayTec, a company incorporated by TNO Technostarters B.V., which will commercialize ultrafast Atomic Layer Deposition.

editor, 25 February 2011

RENA GmbH and BOM have announced the financing of start-up company SoLayTec, thus enabling further development of the ultrafast Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) technology based on license by TNO. SoLayTec, a TNO spin-off, will apply this technology in equipment within the solar market for the production of solar cells.

Delivery second quarter of 2011

Under the leadership of TNO, ultrafast ALD technology has been further developed and the proof of concept has been demonstrated. SoLayTec will deliver the first “process development tool” from the second quarter of 2011. The additional investments by BOM and RENA will help to facilitate the development of a high-volume tool, capable of processing over 3,000 wafers/hour in 2012.

Benefits of ultrafast ALD

The next generation of industrial silicon solar cells aims at efficiencies of 20% and above. To achieve this goal using ever-thinner silicon wafers, a highly effective surface passivation of the cell (front and rear) is required. Al2O3 is well known for it’s excellent surface passivation properties and with ALD Al2O3 can be deposited layer by layer, resulting in a very dense and uniform layer.

SoLayTec’s ultrafast spatial ALD principle is significantly faster than traditional ALD, making it suitable for industrial application. The wafers are transported at atmospheric pressure on a stream of gas, preventing contamination of the reactor. Moreover the process has a low cost of ownership, compared to existing deposition techniques (e.g. PVD, and PECVD).

Partners in industrialisation

SoLayTec has been awarded a subsidy from the Peaks in the Delta programme to industrialise the ultrafast ALD technology. Partners in the project are Frencken, Lamers High Tech Systems, Bronkhorst, TMC, Van Berlo, Sioux and NTS Mechatronics with co-funding coming from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture & Innovation, the provincial authority of Noord-Brabant and the Eindhoven City Region (SRE). SoLayTec and its financing partners see the benefits of this region’s technological know-how and are committed to a long term stay here.


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