Here is a new exciting technology from French start-up EnHelios NanoTech called Atomic Layer Printing. They are first targeting silicon solar cell rear-passivation layers, with caping and contact opening in on single wafer pass. The technology was presented at French annual ALD conference RAFALD in December last year.
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Rear-passivated solar cells (PERC) is a widely adopted improvement for solar cells based on p-type solar wafers. However this improvement is expensive to implement as it requires two to three additional equipments for passivation layer deposition ; capping layer deposition and contact opening.
Atomic Layer Printing allows the direct deposition of patterned layers which means only one equipment to perform :
- Passivation layer deposition (Typically AlOx)
- Capping layer deposition (SiNx, SiOx, TiOx)
- Contact opening (already open in printed layers)
Based on Spatial Atomic Layer Deposition, the technology offers the following benefits :
- Atmospheric pressure process (no load-lock systems)
- High throughput (up to 1 nm/s)
- Low temperature (< 300 °C)
- High material quality (no particle, no pinhole)
- Low maintenance (no coating on the machine walls)
Atomic Layer Printers are modular equipments processing one wafer per printing head. R&D equipments have one printing head while production equipments combine multiple printing heads.