Scientific Vacuum Systems Limited

Research & Development

SVS are committed to investing in research for new sputtering and evaporation techniques to develop processes to a commercial scale.
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Research

SVS and their research collaborator Centre for Renewable Energy and Systems Technology (CREST) @ Loughborough University won a BERR grant worth £706,000 over a five year programme to design and construct a CIGS solar cell pilot production deposition system and use it to develop the CIGS process to a commercial scale using the expertise of the CREST scientists. The objective was to develop a novel inline production system for high efficiency CIGS solar cell structures, employing the 3 stage process.

£706,000

Grant

Cost

Currently CIGS solar cells are typically produced using three separate vacuum deposition systems, two for the electrical contacts and one for the CIGS layer. The project aim was to combine the three systems into one – reducing the overall cost of the capital equipment. The system is an inline load-locked design to achieve higher throughput – reducing overall cost per device. The system is able to produce CIGS cell structures on substrates up to 30cm x 30cm (i.e. large) - again resulting in reduced cost devices.

42%

Government Funded

Advantage

The advantages offered by an inline processing system will provide a considerable technologically competitive advantage over the current CIGS processing equipment. Due to the inline nature of the process a high uniformity multi-aperture effusion cell technology has been incorporated. CIGS is an emerging, and technologically important, solar cell technology offering potentially higher performance at lower cost than competing photovoltaic technologies. See below for further information.

5 years

Programme Length

Scientific Vacuum Systems LTD

Further Research

Professor Hari Upadhyaya and his group at CREST have subsequently moved to Southbank University London and research is now being conducted in the Quantum 2010 system in a brand new facility dedicated to Photovoltaic research.

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