Wednesday, December 12, 2018

UNSW and Leadmicro announce a joint initiative to develop next generation high-efficiency solar cells

[Leadmicro News] The University of New-South Wales (UNSW) in Australia, and Jiangsu Leadmicro Nano-Equipment Technology Ltd. (LEADMICRO), a China-based global manufacturer of advanced thin film deposition and etch equipment, have announced a partnership to develop the next generation high-efficiency solar cells based on novel Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) technology within the frame work of an Arena Project entitled “Advanced high-efficiency silicon solar cells employing innovative atomic scale engineered surface and contact passivation layers”. Mr Warwick Dawson, Director of Knowledge Exchange, Prof. Mark Hoffman, Dean of Faculty of Engineering, Prof. A/Prof Bram Hoex of School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering, as well as Mr. Yangqin Wang, Chairman of the LEAD Group and Dr. Wei-Min Li, CTO of LEADMICRO witnessed the signing ceremony.

Left to right: Research Fellow, Ouyang Zi; Chairman of Wuxi Lead Intelligent Equipment Co. Ltd., Mr. Yanqing Wang; CTO of Jiangsu Leadmicro Nano-Equipment Technology Ltd., Dr Wei-Min LI; Director Knowledge Exchange at UNSW, Warwick Dawson; Dean of Engineering at UNSW, Professor Mark Hoffman; Associate Professor Bram Hoex.

The photovoltaic industry is currently amid the transfer to the technologically superior PERC technology which was developed at UNSW in the late 1980s. According to A/Prof Bram Hoex, who leads the project at UNSW, “A major part of the advantages of the PERC solar cell compared to the incumbent technology is due to the application of ultrathin films which reduce the electronic losses at the non-contacted areas at the rear of the silicon solar cell. It is generally accepted that the next technological node will use so called “passivating contacts” which simultaneously allows for low electronic and resistive losses. These passivating contacts typically consist of a combination of ultrathin films, thus we see that nanoscale thin films will play an increasingly important role in solar cells. ALD allows controlling the growth of thin films at the atomic level and therefore is ideally suited for making these contacts.” In this project, Leadmicro will donate a pilot-scale ALD reactor to UNSW which will be housed at its Solar Industrial Research Facility (SIRF) at UNSW’s Kensington campus. “The fact that we will have a high-throughput reactor available on campus will allow us to very quickly transfer the processes we develop at the lab-scale tools and test their performance at the solar cell device level, so the technology is ready for Leadmicro’s clients to use in high-volume manufacturing” says A/Prof Hoex.

UNSW Dean of Engineering Prof. Mark Hoffman said: “UNSW leads the world in photovoltaic research and development, and I am very pleased that Leadmicro has chosen to partner with us. Together we will drive further efficiencies in solar cell technology. Collaborations such as this one between researchers and industry, where prototypes can be tested before being placed into full-scale production, are crucial to driving the economic benefits of discoveries. I am thankful to Leadmicro for their support and look forward to seeing the outcomes of this partnership,” Professor Hoffman said.

“Leadmicro’s proprietary ALD technology has become the mainstream choice for mass production of high-efficiency solar cells based on passivated contact technology, we are excited to partner with world leading solar energy research center at UNSW to spearhead the development of ALD technology for next generation silicon based solar cell manufacturing that’s above 25% conversion efficiency.” says Dr. Wei-Min Li, CTO at Leadmicro. “In the past two years Leadmicro has made significant contribution to global solar industry with world leading ALD technology that enabled higher efficiency with significant cost reduction. Leadmicro is an example of new trend of Chinese company that is strived for technology innovation and localization. I’m happy to see the collaboration between Leadmicro and world leading research organization at UNSW to pioneer the new technology for high-efficiency solar cells production and contribute further to our noble endeavour of renewable energy for a clean world.” Says Mr Yang Qin Wang, Chairman of the Lead Group.

About UNSW

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) is an Australian public research university located in the Sydney suburb of Kensington. Established in 1949, it is ranked 4th in Australia, 45th in the world, and 2nd in New South Wales according to the 2018 QS World University Rankings. UNSW has been a world-leader in the field of photovoltaics for over four decades.


Jiangsu Leadmicro Nano-Equipment Technology Ltd is a global equipment manufacturer specialized in development, design, manufacturing, and services of the advanced thin film deposition and etch equipments for industrial production applications. Leadmicro’s business areas cover a wide range of industries including new energy, flexible electronics, semiconductor, and nano-technology.

Researchers from MIT and University of Colorado produce smallest 3-D transistor yet

Using a new manufacturing technique, MIT researchers fabricated a 3-D transistor less than half the width of today’s slimmest commercial models, which could help cram far more transistors onto a single computer chip. Pictured is a cross-section of one of the researchers’ transistors that measures only 3 nanometers wide. Credits Courtesy of the researchers: Published under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives license

[MIT News] Researchers from MIT and the University of Colorado have fabricated a 3-D transistor that’s less than half the size of today’s smallest commercial models. To do so, they developed a novel microfabrication technique that modifies semiconductor material atom by atom.

As described in a paper presented at this week’s IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting, the researchers modified a recently invented chemical-etching technique, called thermal atomic level etching (thermal ALE), to enable precision modification of semiconductor materials at the atomic level. Using that technique, the researchers fabricated 3-D transistors that are as narrow as 2.5 nanometers and more efficient than their commercial counterparts.

Full story : MIT News LINK

Forge Nano demonstrates superior battery performance

Forge Nano is pleased to share the exciting new data above on ALD-enabled LCO batteries. If you are working with batteries in:
  • Power Tools
  • Laptops
  • Cellphones
  • Wearables
or other LCO based systems, you owe it to yourself and your customers to contact Forge Nano and investigate their exciting advancements for your applications.

If you don’t use LCO based batteries, Forge Nano has demonstrated similar performance improvements for other battery chemistries as well.

Forge Nano’s unique precision ALD nano coating process benefits extend well beyond battery materials, virtually any powder can be upgraded using their process.
Contact us at Forge Nano for more information on how our innovative process can help you achieve your product goals

John Mahoney
(720) 531-8293

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The EFDS ALD for Industry 2019 Exhibition in Berlin is growing - Come and join us 19-20 March 2019!

The EFDS ALD for Industry 2019 Exhibition in Berlin is growing - Come and join us 19-20 March 2019!

ALD for Industry Web: LINK

Formation of HERALD Grant Committee

The following HERALD members have been elected as the Grant Committee, starting in 2019, with responsibility for allocating grants for workshops and other networking purposes in the new HERALD network.
  • Dr. Jolien Dendooven
  • Prof. Anjana Devi
  • Dr. Christoph Hossbach
  • Prof. Erwin Kessels
  • Prof. Greg Parsons
  • Prof. Ana Silva
COST Action MP1402 - HERALD
Hooking together European research in Atomic Layer Deposition

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Argonne develops SIS lithography to maintain the technological progression and scaling of Moore’s Law

A manufacturing technique that could help the semiconductor industry make more powerful computer chips began in the humblest of places — at a lunch table at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory. 

The materials synthesis method known as sequential infiltration synthesis, or SIS, has the potential to improve not only chip manufacturing but also things like hard drive storage, solar cell efficiency, anti-reflective surfaces on optics and water-repellant car windshields. Invented in 2010 during a lunchtime conversation between Argonne scientists Seth Darling and Jeffrey Elam and two of their postdoctoral researchers, use of the method has grown in recent years.

Top: Jeff Elam and Anil Mane, co-inventor on the SIS for lithography method and Principal Materials Science Engineer in Argonne’s Applied Materials Division. Bottom: Silicon wafers, ranging in size from 4” to 12” diameter, that have been treated using Argonne’s sequential infiltration synthesis method (Credit : Argonne National Laboratory).

The method was based on the group’s discussion of atomic layer deposition, or ALD, a thin film deposition technique that uses alternating chemical vapors to grow materials one atomic layer at a time. Darling, director of the Institute for Molecular Engineering at Argonne and the Advanced Materials for Energy-Water Systems Energy Frontier Research Center, recently used that technique to add a water-loving metal oxide coating to filters used in the oil and gas industry which prevents the filters from clogging.

“It worked beautifully on the first try.” — Seth Darling, director of Argonne’s Institute for Molecular Engineering and the Advanced Materials for Energy-Water Systems Energy Frontier Research Center

But as the group talked, they started speculating about taking ALD to a new level, said Darling.

“We said ​‘Wouldn’t it be neat if we could grow one material inside another material like a polymer (a string of many combined molecules) instead of on top of it?’” Darling said. ​“We first thought ​‘This isn’t going to work,’ but, surprisingly, it worked beautifully on the first try. Then we began imagining all of the different applications it could be used for.”

The research was funded by the DOE Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences Program as well as the Argonne-Northwestern Solar Energy Research Center, a DOE Office of Science-funded Energy Frontier Research Center.

Anil Mane unloding wafers processed in a BENEQ TFS 500 ALD reactor at Argonne’s Applied Materials Division. (Credit : Argonne National Laboratory).

SIS is similar to ALD on a polymer surface, but in SIS the vapor is diffused into the polymer rather than on top of it, where it chemically binds with the polymer and eventually grows to create inorganic structures throughout the entire polymer bulk.

Using this technique, scientists can create robust coatings that can help the semiconductor manufacturing industry etch more intricate features on computer chips, allowing them to become even smaller or to add extra storage and other capabilities. They can also tailor the shape of various metals, oxides and other inorganic materials by applying them to a polymer with SIS and then removing the remains of the polymer.

“You can take a pattern in a polymer, expose it to vapors and transform it from an organic material to an inorganic material,” said Elam, director of Argonne’s ALD research program, referring to the way the method can use polymers and a vapor to basically mold a new material with specific properties. ​“It’s a way to use a polymer pattern, and convert that pattern into virtually any inorganic material.”

The technology’s potential spans beyond semiconductors. It could be used to advance products in different industries, and Argonne would be delighted to work with commercialization partners who can take the invention and incorporate it in existing products - or invent new applications to benefit U.S. economy, said Hemant Bhimnathwala, a business development executive at Argonne.

“You can use SIS to create a film, you can put it on a metal, you can create this on glass or put it on a glass windshield to make it water repelling to the point where you don’t need wipers,” Bhimnathwala said.

The way the scientists invented the technique — through that lunch meeting — was also a bit unusual. New discoveries often come about by accident, but not usually by spitballing ideas over lunch, Elam said.

“Occasionally, if you’re watching intently, you can see something else there and discover something new and unexpected,” Elam said. ​“That doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it’s great.”

The technique also addresses a specific concern in the semiconductor manufacturing industry, pattern collapse, which means the collapse of tiny features used to create electrical components on a computer chip, rendering it useless.

When a pattern is etched on a silicon chip in the chip-making process, an etch-resistant surface is used as a protective coating to mask those regions you do not want to remove. But the etch-resistant coatings commonly used today wear away very quickly, which has prevented chip manufacturers from making components with deeply etched features, Darling said.

With SIS, inorganic vapor coatings can be engineered to provide greater protection of vertical features, allowing deeper etches and the integration of more components on each chip.

“Features on chips have gotten extremely small laterally, but sometimes you also want to make them tall,” Darling said. ​“You can’t make a tall feature if your resist etches away quickly, but with SIS it’s easy.”

Similarly, the technique can be used to manipulate magnetic recording on hard drives or other storage devices, allowing them to increase storage while also getting smaller, Darling said.

Another possibility for the technology is to control how much light bounces off a glass or plastic surface. Using SIS, scientists can engineer surfaces to be almost entirely non-reflective. Using this strategy, scientists can improve performance of solar cells, LEDs and even eyeglasses.

“There are also a lot of applications in electronics,” Elam said. ​“You can use it to squeeze more memory in a smaller space, or to build faster microprocessors. SIS lithography is a promising strategy to maintain the technological progression and scaling of Moore’s Law.”

The team’s research on the technology has been published in The Journal of Materials Chemistry, The Journal of Physical Chemistry, Advanced Materials and The Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology B.

Argonne is looking for commercial partners interested in licensing and developing the technology for more specific uses. Companies interested in leveraging Argonne’s expertise in SIS should contact partners@​anl.​gov to learn more and discuss possible collaborations.

Top: Seth Darling, Scientist and Director of the Institute for Molecular Engineering at Argonne National Laboratory. Bottom: Jeff Elam, Senior Chemist in Argonne’ Applied Materials Division (bottom). Picture Credit : Argonne National Laboratory.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Scaling Atomic Layer Deposition to Astronomical Optic Sizes

Here is a recent paper shared by Henrik Pedersen on twitter using a cool rather huge ALD machine for coating  covered here earlier (LINK) during its start up at University of California, Santa Cruz. The reactor with a 1 m wide ALD process chamber that has been designed and built by Structured Material Industries Inc. (LINK). It is large enough to accommodate telescope mirrors that has been refurbished with a silver coating that needs a perfect protective ALD coating. The initial test shows that lateral thickness uniformity across a 0.9 m substrate is within 2.5% of the average film thickness, and simple steps to realize 1% uniformity have been identified for next growths.

Scaling Atomic Layer Deposition to Astronomical Optic Sizes: Low-Temperature Aluminum Oxide in a Meter-Sized Chamber
David M. Fryauf, Andrew C. Phillips, Michael J. Bolte, Aaron Feldman, Gary S. Tompa, and Nobuhiko P. Kobayashi
ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2018, 10 (48), pp 41678–41689
DOI: 10.1021/acsami.8b10457
Publication Date (Web): November 12, 2018

Left: The summit of Mauna Kea is considered one of the world's most important astronomical viewing sites. The twin Keck telescopes are among the largest optical/near-infrared instruments currently in use around the world. Middle: The night sky and Keck Observatory laser for adaptive optics. Right: W. M. Keck Observatory at sunset (Wikipedia)

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The 7th ALD Symposium by ALD Lab Saxony 10th of December 2018 in Dresden

The 7th ALD Symposium will be organized by ALD Lab Saxony and the working group R&D of Silicon Saxony, 10th of December 2018 in Dresden / Germany. 

Registration: LINK
Location :

Technische Universität Dresden
- Werner-Hartmann-Bau -
Nöthnitzer Str. 66
01187 Dresden 
Program 14:00 - 18:00
Stefan Uhlig/Cool Silicon

ALD/CVD applications, equipment and precursors in high volume manufacturing
Dr. Jonas Sundqvist/ Fraunhofer IKTS

ALD activities within Research Fab Microelectronics Germany FMD
Bernd Hintze/ Forschungsfabrik Mikroelektronik Deutschland

Atomic layer deposition @ IFW
Andy Thomas/ Leibniz-Institut für Festkörper- und Werkstoffforschung

Felix Winkler/ Technische Universität Dresden, Institut für Halbleiter und Mikrosysteme

BREAK (15:05-15:20)

Synthesis of self-assembled 3D nanostructures using metastable atomic layer deposition
Mario Ziegler/ Leibniz-Institut für Photonische Technologien Jena

ALD layers for reduced wear on micro cutting tools
Toni Junghans/ Westsächsische Hochschule Zwickau

Zr precursor screening for semiconductor applications
Monica Materano/ NamLab

WORLD CAFE (16:00-18:00)
Station 1 – the future of ALX 2019/2020
Station 2 – ALD R&D projects ideas
Station 3 – Internationalisation (players, cooperations, events etc.)

Wrap up world café
Stefan Uhlig/ Cool Silicon

Networking (18:00 - open end): After the official parts, we would be very happy if you accompany us to a trip over the 584. Dresdner Striezelmarkt 2018 and enjoy some networking with a hot cup of delicious mulled wine 

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Gooch & Housego Installs Veeco’s IBS System for Advanced Optical Coating Capabilities

PLAINVIEW, New York—Nov. 29, 2018—Veeco Instruments Inc. and Gooch & Housego (G&H), the world’s leading supplier of high quality superpolished optical components today announced the successful installation of Veeco’s SPECTOR® Ion Beam Sputtering (IBS) Optical Coating System at G&H’s Moorpark, Calif. facility. The new capability provided by SPECTOR supports G&H’s expanding portfolio of high-quality optics for ultraviolet, visible and infrared systems used in telecommunications, aerospace and defense, life science and industrial applications.

SPECTOR offers exceptional layer thickness control, enhanced process stability and the lowest published optical losses in the industry, and has become the IBS system of choice for over 200 advanced manufacturing settings worldwide. G&H will use this system to support its expanding portfolio of high-quality optics for UV, visible and infrared systems used across telecommunications, aerospace and defense, life science and industrial applications. 

“G&H is at the forefront of engineering a broad range of photonics technologies, leveraging optical coatings to advance crystal growth, electro-optics and fiber optics in next-generation applications,” said Adam Morrow, product line manager at G&H. “As we navigate the increasingly complex specifications required for these processes, we’ve turned to Veeco as a partner that can uphold our long-standing pedigree of high-quality optics.”

G&H’s growing presence in the laser optics landscape builds on the company’s tenured history as a supplier of high-quality photonics components. Complementing G&H’s superpolished surfaces, Veeco offers IBS coatings that achieve very low levels of total loss while maintaining surface roughness quality, density and exceptional environmental stability.

The SPECTOR IBS platform offers exceptional layer thickness control, enhanced process stability, and the lowest published optical losses in the industry. The system is engineered to improve key production parameters, such as target material utilization, optical endpoint control, and process time for cutting-edge optical coating applications. The SPECTOR platform, which is the preferred IBS system in the industry, has been installed in more than 200 advanced manufacturing settings across the world.