Midsummer launches low cost R&D platform for thin film deposition

CIGS solar cells manufacturer Midsummer has announced the launch of the UNO, a low cost versatile research and development platform for thin film deposition specifically developed for universities and research facilities
Midsummer launches low cost R&D platform for thin film deposition

The UNO is a lighter version of the DUO tool, both tools designed for thin film manufacturing.  According to Midsummer the UNO is an ideal solution for a range of thin film research applications, including CIGS (copper, indium, gallium, selenium) and CZTS (copper, zinc, tine and sulfide) and can boast a high throughput, flexibility, stability and ability to design complext test series. It can also be used for a multitude of applications where a sputtered material stack in an unbroken vacuum chain is required, for example for thin film batteries, fuel cells and small display screens.

The UNO can have up to 13 sputtering cathodes and warm the substrate up to 750°C (1,400°F). It can load up to 300 substrates and run automatic test series, where each substrate has different parameter settings. It can also be supplemented with co-evaporation, analytical tools, database and various options. It has many of the features of the DUO, including a small footprint, but the biggest difference between the two platforms is that the UNO has only one main vacuum chamber and that sputtering takes place in only one process station at a time, which is suitable for R&D.

“There has been a lot of interest from universities and institutes for a lower cost version of our commercial DUO production tool for research and development” said Sven Lindström, CEO of Midsummer. “We are happy to announce the launch of the UNO in response to these requests, and hope that a research tool like this will contribute to accelerate the development of cost-effective and efficient thin film CIGS and CZTS solar cells on a global scale.”

Another R&D feature is that the UNO can use both glass and stainless steel substrates and can be equipped with more in-site measurement stations. Midsummer’s CIGS cells look like crystalline silicon but are made on stainless steel substrates. This makes the cells suitable not only for regular solar panels, but also for flexible, light weight panels that can be used on membrane roofs, landfills or other structures where the traditional glass modules cannot be applied.

Thin film CIGS solar panels are become increasingly popular. They are thinner and lighter than traditional silicon solar cells made of glass while maintaining durability. They are also non-toxic (no cadmium) and can be made frameless, thus they are ideal for a range of applications including floating modules, vehicles, portable power generation and membrane roofs on factories, offices and other structures that are not strong enough for traditional glass modules.  

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Tags: Solar , Fuel , Fuel cell
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