Newsletter SVConnections April

In This Issue
* Thin-Film Solar Cells
* High Efficiency Cell Production
* Bringing Technology to the Public
* PV Industry's Black Swan
* Switchable Solvent Systems
* Glittercells
* Robots Build Solar Cells
* Plastic Electronics
* Photovoltaics for Building Facades
* Trapping Sunlight with Nanowires
* Spider-Man Grip
* Graphene Hybrid
* SVC TechCon Exhibit
Vacuum Research

Vacuum Research, Inc.

Rectangular Port

Gate and Throttle Valves

Aluminum, Steel or Stainless Steel Valves with flange or bolt pattern to match your system.  Select motorized actuator for soft open and close or full throttle modulation.  Total leak rate less than 10-10 scc/sec.  RoHS compliant and CE marked.









5,000,000 cycle performance

Stroke: Max. +/- 100mm

Max. Bellows Length: 300mm

Inside:  Vacuum

Outside: Atmospheric Pressure

MEWASA Unconditionally Guarantees Highest Quality Swiss Manufacturing of Edge Welded Metal Bellows for Every Application.


Tel: 520-797-6980


Filmetrics Thin-Film Thickness Measurement Systems

-Measure thickness from 1nm to 1mm

-Measure refractive index and other properties

-Used in thousands of applications worldwide

We offer the industry's only complete line of thin-film

measurement instruments. With our 24-hour online

"Hands On" support, expert help is only a minute away.


RD Mathis

The R.D. Mathis Company specializes in the fabrication of high vacuum evaporation sources for thin film coating industries. We offer a comprehensive selection of tungsten, molybdenum and tantalum sources through our catalog and offer custom fabrication to meet your specific coating needs. Our "LV Series" Low Voltage, High Current Power Supplies and "GP 100" Inert Gas Purifier compliment your evaporation process.




Veeco's new SOLUS™ DC Ion Source Controller features a state-of-the-art precision control system design providing reliable and stable power for ion source operation in all types of processes.  Integrated power modules and gas flow control with ratio capabilities allow for optimal ion source control and performance in the most demanding process environments.

To Learn More Visit:



Mustang group of companies delivers standard and custom production deposition solutions to Industrial, Automotive and Solar customers around the world.  Come visit us during the SVC show in Orlando at booth 109 and learn about the incredible growth underway.  Mustang is actively hiring Process and Product Engineers.

 Visit Us on the Web




Solid Sealing Technology

Solid Sealing Technology specializes in the design and manufacture of highly engineered hermetic products using metalizing, brazing, glass-ceramic sealing, welding, and critical assembly.  SST manufactures industry standard and custom designed Vacuum Feedthroughs, Coaxial Connectors, Multi-Pin Connectors, Thermocouples, and Isolators for high temperature, UHV, and high pressure applications.


Ph: 518-874-3600
Fax: 518-874-3610


Analog and Digital Vacuum Gauges

Pfeiffer Vacuum compact, analog or digital vacuum gauge feature: integrated electronics, common cabling and linear output across the entire vacuum range. These include: ActiveLine total pressure measurement gauges with analog signal output from 10-11 to 55,000 mbar; DigiLine™ digital gauges that interface RS232, RS484, DeviceNet and Profibus; and ModulLine rugged gauges for radiation, electromagnetic and UHV applications.

Pfeiffer Vacuum, Inc.

Phone 603-578-6500

Visit Us Online



Dual Stage Rotary Vane Pumps

ULVAC's VD Series of dual stage oil rotary vacuum pumps with direct-drive motors are designed for use in a broad range of applications. These lightweight compact pumps feature low noise with minimal vibration levels.  The VD series is available in pumping speeds from 600 l/min [36 m3/hr] to 800 l/min

[48 m3/hr] with an ultimate pressure of 0.67 Pa.

ULVAC Technologies, Inc.
Methuen, MA
Visit Us Online
Tel: 1-978-686-7550

Comdel Delivers New CDX Dual High Frequency Power Supply 

Comdel's latest dual is now available with two high frequency sections in one unit.  Our compact design reduces space, electrical and plumbing, and spare inventory requirements.  Making the CDX series available with dual high frequency sections provides more flexibility for plasma applications in solar cell, photovoltaic and semiconductor processing. Learn more.

11 Kondelin Road
Gloucester, MA 01930
Tel: 978-282-0620 or 800-468-3144

Kurt J. Lesker


Visit Kurt J. Lesker Company in Booth 303 at the SVC TechCon in Orlando and play our

Details Matter game for a chance to win REI Camping Gear. We will be showcasing our wide range of products for all your vacuum needs. Offering thousands of production targets and materials for immediate delivery.


Home of the Balzers BAK, Evatec delivers thin film batch and cluster tools using evaporation, sputter, PECVD, Microwave and ICP etch. Solutions for precision optics, optoelectronics and semiconductor. Contact your local sales and service support in North America for new sales, retrofits and upgrades.

 Telephone: 603.669.9656

UC Components Logo 
Speed pump-down and vacuum performance with RediVac™ Vented Screws and Vacuum Baked O-Rings from

UC Components Inc.

SVC 2010 TechCon in Orlando, FL
Orlando World Center
Join the Society of Vacuum Coaters, April 17-22, 2010, for its 53rd Annual TechCon at the magnificent Orlando Marriott World Center Resort and Convention Center.
Download the Final Program and Final Program Abstracts
The Final Program Addendum will be posted on the SVC Web Site after April 12, 2010.

Register for the TechCon Now
Time is running out, but it's not too late to register on-line for the TechCon!
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As the Society of Vacuum Coaters prepares for its 53rd Annual Technical Conference in Orlando, Florida, our tendency is to revisit our past TechCon experiences - the technologies revealed, break-throughs discovered and the innovative people who shared them with our community.  The purpose of the TechCon has not changed over the decades - but our technology has evolved and placed itself in a position to be relevant well into the future.  SVConnections serves as an extension of our mission to share the latest developments in vacuum coating technology with our community.  Learn something new by reading this latest issue, and we invite you to experience the TechCon for yourself this month.
Record Makes Thin-Film Solar Cell Competitive with Silicon Efficiency
NREL Newsroom, March 24, 2008

 NREL Logo

The copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film solar cell recently reached 19.9 percent efficiency, setting a new world record for this type of cell. Multicrystalline silicon-based solar cells have shown efficiencies as high as 20.3 percent. The energy conversion efficiency of a solar cell is the percentage of sunlight converted by the cell into electricity.


"This is an important milestone," said NREL Senior Scientist Miguel Contreras. "The thin film people have always looked for matching silicon in performance, and we are reaching that goal."

CIGS cells use extremely thin layers of semiconductor material applied to a low-cost backing such as glass, flexible metallic foils, high-temperature polymers or stainless steel sheets. Thin-film cells require less energy to make and can be fabricated by a variety of processes.  Because of this, they provide a promising path for providing more affordable solar cellsResearchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory have moved closer to creating a thin-film solar cell that can compete with the efficiency of the more common silicon-based solar cell. for residential and other uses. The CIGS cells are of interest for space applications and the portable electronics market because of their light weight. They are also suitable in special architectural uses, such as photovoltaic roof shingles, windows, siding and others.

(click the image to read the full article on Image: NREL

High-Efficiency Cell Production: just like trekking to the North Pole
By Finlay Colville, Coherent Inc., March 31, 2010

You've just made it to the North Pole. Well done! It's time to write those memoires. You consult your logbook for inspiration, and what transpires is not a story about planting your flag at the North Pole, but the journey to get there: the years of planning and teamwork, tortuous detours to avoid pressure ridges, unforeseen challenges and how you overcame them through adversity to triumph.

During the early 20th century, intrepid explorers frequently reported reaching the North Pole. Most were not believed when they had no compelling evidence from the journey to support their claims. Sometimes, there were no trained navigators in the party. Others announced arrival in super fast timescales which didn't stack up.

Thankfully, reports of high-efficiency cell production within the PV industry involve less human attrition, but they do share a journey and an end point. During the past 12 months, announcements of high-efficiency crystalline silicon (c-Si) cells have unquestionably been in vogue, with press releases issued almost on a weekly basis. And since all high-efficiency concepts demand new equipment from alternate process flows, the supply chain eagerly digests each one in an attempt to forecast capex trends and new product development.

(click here to read the full article on

DOE Launches Web Site to Bring Energy Technology Information to the Public
From MRS Bulletin - Volume 35 - March 2010

The Department of Energy (DOE) has launched Open Energy Information (, an open source web platform that makes DOE resources and open energy data widely available to the public.  The data and tools housed on the free, editable, and evolving wiki-platform can be used by government officials, the private sector, private developers, the international community and others helped deploy clean energy technologies around the world.  The Web Site was launched as part of a broader effort at DOE, with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and across the Obama Administration to promote openness, transparency, and accessibility to the federal government.

(click here to subscribe to the MRS Bulletin at

The PV Industry's Black Swan
By Paula Mints, Navigant Consulting, March 18, 2010

For the PV industry, the swan did not exactly swoop; it floated down for a long, slow and game-changing landing.

A black swan event is an observed market behavior that performs in an unexpected manner. The best example of this sort of event is the housing crisis -- seriously, many analysts (and others) noted that housing values were declining, yet, because very few believed that these values would crash, most continued to behave in a business-as-usual manner, that is trading debt, refinancing and lending until the genesis of most of the housing debt was obscured.

In terms of the PV industry, such expected unexpected behavior is seen in the not-so-rapid rise of supply control by two countries: China and Taiwan. In 2009, shipments from China and Taiwan were 46% of total. From controlling price (low) to dominating shipments, manufacturers from these two countries made significant gains in the market in just a few years. The table below presents the amazing increase in shipments from these manufacturers in just a few years. (This is a market research practice that relies on primary data from the supply and demand sides of the market.) These statistics represent shipments to the first point of sale, tracked each kilowatt back to the original manufacturer -- though with all of the tolling (wafers processed to cells outside the original technology manufacturer facility), and outsourcing (buying cells and modules and rebranding), it has been a time-consuming task to get to an accurate number. Note that in the five-year period 2004-2009, both the ROW region and China/Taiwan experienced significant compound annual and yearly growth.

New Switchable Solvent Systems Can Switch from Hydrophilic to Hydrophobic

Researchers in Canada have developed techniques to make a switchable solvent reversibly switch from hydrophobic to hydrophilic using carbon dioxide gas. In such a fashion, water could be easily separated from the organic solvent. Prof. PhilSwitchable Solvent Systemsip G. Jessop and coworkers at Queen's University in Ontario, Canada came up with the technique. In another experiment, the group came up with a method of separating out water soluble salts from organic solvents using the same technique. Other work is on switchable surfactants.  Prof. Jessop has been awarded the 2010 Killiam Research Fellowship for his pioneering work in Green Chemistry. The results are reported in Green Chemistry, DOI: 10.1039/b926885e) and Chemical Engineering News 

The Jessop group page is at :

Image: S. Ritter, CEN, March 22, 2010

Sandia National Laboratories Glittercells

Scientists at Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque, New Mexico have developed microcells,which measure 250-100 nm and are 14-20 micronGlittercellss thick. These cells are formed on silicon wafers and have reached 14.9% in efficiency. Their silicon usage is about 10% compared to regular crystalline cells. In conventional cells silicon cost is 20-25% of the overall cost of the device. Since they are small they can be wired to produce high voltages, the glitter cells can be deposited on flexible webs including cloth. The team is headed by Gregory N. Nielson, Advanced MEMS Group.

Further information is at:

Image: Murat Okandan

Robots at NREL Build Solar Cells

Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado have developed prototype robots to fabricate and test coatings and cells during fabrication. Using robots, completedNREL Robots cells can be made in as short as 35 minutes without breaking vacuum. This development is part of the Process Development and Integration Lab (PDIL) set up to help industry evaluate new processes and cells. A silicon, copper indium gallium sulfide (CIGS) and finally a CdTe robot facilitywill be built. Industry partners can bring their own unique deposition and analysis tools and test them in a process environment. Further information is at:

Image: Pat Corkery

Flexible Displays Using Plastic Electronics

After many years of development, flexible displays are starting to enter the mainstream technology of display products as witnessed by the development of the Sony LIBRIe with e-Ink Vizplex technology. Flexible plastic electronics are finally coming to maturity as organic semiconductor materials and processes improve. Plastic Logic Ltd., Cambridge, UK, has a built a manufacturing facility for flexible display modules. By using printing processes and organic semiconductors, thin film transistors can be formed without the worry of high processing temperatures. A common substrate is polyethylene terathalate (PET) plastic film. Layer to layer alignment is typically +/- 5 microns. The current reader display product, QUEproReader, was shown at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, NV in January 2010. The MIT Technology Review has listed Plastic Logic as one of the top Innovative Companies for 2010. Further information is reviewed in Information Display 26, February (2010) p.16-19. And on the Plastic logic web site:

Concentrating Photovoltaics for Building Facades

Prof. Anna Dyson, at the Center for Architecture Science and Ecology (CASE), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, NY, is looking at the future of solar integrated facades using concentrating technologies. She Rensselaerbelieves they can be both beautiful and functional for the production of solar energy. These concentrating photovoltaic systems could be used to bring more day lighting into a building. More details on the CASE center and solar fašade projects can be seen at: 

One of her working groups on design innovation at the Dalian World Economic Forum 2009 can be seen on YouTube:

Image: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Trapping Sunlight with Silicon Nanowires

From ScienceDaily, March 5, 2010

Solar cells made from silicon are projected to be a prominent factor in future renewable green energy equations, but so far the promise has far exceeded the reality. While there are now silicon photovoltaics that can convert sunlight into electricity at impressive 20 percent efficiencies, the cost of this solar power is prohibitive for large-scale use. Researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley Trapping SunlightNational Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), however, are developing a new approach that could substantially reduce these costs. The key to their success is a better way of trapping sunlight.

"Through the fabrication of thin films from ordered arrays of vertical silicon nanowires we've been able to increase the light-trapping in our solar cells by a factor of 73," says chemist Peidong Yang, who led this research. "Since the fabrication technique behind this extraordinary light-trapping enhancement is a relatively simple and scalable aqueous chemistry process, we believe our approach represents an economically viable path toward high-efficiency, low-cost thin-film solar cells."

Yang holds joint appointments with Berkeley Lab's Materials Sciences Division, and the University of California Berkeley's Chemistry Department. He is a leading authority on semiconductor nanowires -- one-dimensional strips of materials whose width measures only one-thousandth that of a human hair but whose length may stretch several microns.

Click the image to read the full article on
Image: Peidong Yang

Scientists Use Gecko's Spider-Man Grip to Develop Super Tape

By Alex Hutchinson, Popular Mechanics, October 2007

A gecko's foot is like a perfect Post-it: As the lizard walks up a wall, its feet stick fast and peel off smoothly, never slipping, and since no viscous glue is involved, never losing grip. Now, a team at Ohio's University of Akron has produced a new kind of "gecko tape" that mimics the thousands of hairs on the gecko's footpad, each of which splits into hundreds of smaller nanohairs. The tape uses bundles of setae-strong but flexible carbon nanotubes-which, like the gecko hairs, create an electrostatic attraction with a surface.

Other researchers have also aped the gecko-Stanford University's Stickybot, for example, climbs using feet covered with tiny angled setae hairs. But these previous attempts have never matched the strength and re-usability of the original. One square inch of the new tape supports 50 pounds, making it four times stronger than a gecko's foot. No commercial plans have been announced, but the team envisions the tape being used in space.


(click the image to read the full article 
Image: Popular Mechanics and Center for Design Research, Stanford University

Rice Researchers Make Graphene Hybrid

Product Design and Development, March 2, 2010

One-atom-thick sheet offers new microelectronic possibilities that scale well below the limitations of silicon by Moore's Law.

Rice University researchers have found a way to stitch graphene and hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) into a two-dimensional quilt that offers new paths of exploration for materials scientists.

The technique has implications for application of graphene materials in microelectronics that scale well below the limitations of silicon determined by Moore's Law.

New research from the lab of Pulickel Ajayan, RiGraphene Hybridce's Benjamin M. and Mary Greenwood Anderson Professor in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and of chemistry, demonstrates a way to achieve fine control in the creation of such hybrid, 2-D structures.

Layers of h-BN a single atom thick have the same lattice structure as graphene, but electrically the materials are at opposite ends of the spectrum: h-BN is an insulator, whereas graphene, the single-atom-layer form of carbon, is highly conductive. The ability to assemble them into a single lattice could lead to a rich variety of 2-D structures with electric properties ranging from metallic conductor to semiconductor to insulator.

(Click the image to read the full article on
Image: Rice University/Ajayan Lab

SVC Invites You to the TechCon Exhibit and Offers Free Admission
April 20-21, 2010, Orlando, FL

Tuesday, April 20

12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. - Grab and Go Lunches for Sale in the

Exhibit Hall

3:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. - Technical Poster Presentations on


4:00 p.m. - Spa Treatment Raffle drawing.  Raffle cards

provided to Exhibit Visitors with their registration packet.  Must be present to win.  Sponsored by Vacuum Research Corporation.

5:00 p.m. - Exhibit Reception.  All are welcome!

7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. - Networking Event at the

Orlando World Center Marriott Spa Terrace Purchase your ticket at the Registration Desk. - $46.00 ($23.00 for Full-Time Students) Price includes, Welcome Drink, Dinner Buffet and Entertainment.


Wednesday, April 21

10:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.  - Vendor Innovators Showcase

Presentations (with a break for lunch)

1:15 p.m. - Spa Treatment Raffle drawing.  Raffle cards

provided to Exhibit Visitors with their registration packet.  Must be present to win.  Sponsored by Vacuum Research Corporation.

3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. - Beer Blast, sponsored by VON ARDENNE


It's not too late to participate in the SVC problem-solving Tutorial Courses!  Click here to preview all 20 of our offerings.
Interested in sharing the latest news in vacuum coating technology?  Forward us a link to an article you want to share with the rest of the SVC readership to  Purchase advertising space on this newsletter by contacting SVC at
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