Oerlikon Systems, Meyer Burger in strategic co-operation for SOLARIS coating system

Oerlikon Systems and Meyer Burger signed a strategic distribution andcooperation agreement for the SOLARIS thin-film coating equipment.

Aspart of the agreement, Meyer Burger’s sales & service organizationwill represent the SOLARIS for crystalline Silicon PV application inmost regions, such as China, Taiwan, Europe, Middle East, India and theAmericas. The two companies will also work together to further developanti-reflective coatings and other innovative process steps within themanufacturing process of crystalline solar cells.

“MeyerBurger’s focus, strength and experience in the crystalline silicon PVmarket will enable us to reach out to cell manufacturers faster &more efficiently. Furthermore, we see significant synergies byleveraging Meyer Burger’s capabilities in automation, wafer & cellmeasurement tools and – last but not least – with Meyer Burger’sexpertise in wafer surface design.” says Andreas Dill, Head of OerlikonSystems.

“We are very happy to have Oerlikon Systems – a trueleader in thin film technology – as our partner. This agreement is inline with our growth strategy to expand our successful model ofproviding core technologies in photovoltaics – to the benefit of ourcustomers by further reducing cost of ownership while increasingconversion efficiencies and plant output” adds Peter Pauli, CEO ofMeyer Burger.

The SOLARIS system is a high speed single wafersputter system, similar in design to other high performancemanufacturing systems from Oerlikon for optical discs andsemiconductors.

The system is very flexible in its possibleconfigurations, such as for anti-reflective coatings and back-sidepassivation & metallization for crystalline solar cells. It excelsin its productivity, process quality & stability, lowest energyconsumption and space requirements. The recent live demo of the systemat the EU PVSEC in Hamburg generated a lot of interest and excitement.

TheSOLARIS system is based on advanced nanotechnology. In solar cell orphotovoltaic production with SOLARIS, very thin layers of siliconnitride are applied on the front of the cells. However, the flexibilityof SOLARIS also allows coating of the backside with various materials.

Eachwafer is handled and coated separately. With six coating chambers, aspecial carrier transport mechanism and a wide range of potential layermaterial, SOLARIS is not only highly flexible but at the same timeenjoys unmatched productivity. The machine is able to treat standardwafer formats from 125mm2 to 156mm2, with an average amounting up to1,200 wafers per hour. Changing substrate formats, layer materials orprocesses requires minimum time. A new system at a customer site can beinstalled and ramped up in less than one week.

“With SOLARIS, wefor the first time apply advanced nanotechnology in the production ofcrystalline solar cells”, explains Andreas Dill, Head of OerlikonSystems – “with enormous advantages for solar cell manufacturing.Firstly, with a size of 2×3.3m, SOLARIS requires 80 percnt less floorspace than competitive solutions. Secondly, the fully automatedsolution requires minimal maintenance. Thirdly, SOLARIS needssignificantly less power (minus 50 percent). Last, but not least, lowermaintenance requirements result in a significantly higher uptime.

“Thebenefits of SOLARIS are quite obvious. It’s a revolutionary concept forsolar cell manufacturing – the first of many ‘clean technologies’possible with this new system”, says Dill.

The Oerlikon development teams have further, specific applications in mind:

Touchpanels: These devices are being integrated in a wide range ofapplications from smart phones to PCs and refrigerators. SOLARISapplies a key conductive layer and anti-reflective coatings on thetouch screen panels.

Thermoelectrics: These “green energy”devices generate electricity when heated. The thin film layers appliedby SOLARIS are efficient at conducting electricity, but not heat, whichkeeps the device running.

Energy storage: Actually a family ofapplications that includes highly efficient (smaller and lighter) thinfilm batteries and advanced super capacitors for energy storage;SOLARIS provides thin film processes for all of these.