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SVC 2010 TechCon in Orlando, FL
The Final Program Addendum will be posted on the SVC Web Site after April 12, 2010.
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
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.
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."
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
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 www.nrel.gov) Image: NREL
High-Efficiency Cell Production: just like trekking to the North Pole
By Finlay Colville, Coherent Inc., March 31, 2010
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.
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.
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 www.pennenergy.com)
DOE Launches Web Site to Bring Energy Technology Information to the Public
From MRS Bulletin - Volume 35 - March 2010
Department of Energy (DOE) has launched Open Energy Information (www.openEI.org), 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 www.mrs.org/bulletin)
The PV Industry's Black Swan
By Paula Mints, Navigant Consulting, March 18, 2010
the PV industry, the swan did not exactly swoop; it floated down for a long,
slow and game-changing landing.
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.
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
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. Philip
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 http://pubs.acs.org/cen/news/88/i11/8811news4.html
Jessop group page is at : http://www.chem.queensu.ca/people/faculty/jessop/
Image: S. Ritter, CEN, March 22, 2010
Sandia National Laboratories Glittercells
at Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque, New Mexico have developed
microcells,which measure 250-100 nm and are 14-20 microns 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.
information is at: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-12/dnl-gsp122109.php
Image: Murat Okandan
Robots at NREL Build Solar Cells
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, completed 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: http://www.nrel.gov/features/20100319_cigs.html
Image: Pat Corkery
Flexible Displays Using Plastic Electronics
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: http://www.plasticlogic.com/ereader/plastic-display.php
Concentrating Photovoltaics for Building Facades
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 believes 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:
of her working groups on design innovation at the Dalian World Economic Forum
2009 can be seen on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxeIZuQs07s
Image: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Trapping Sunlight with Silicon Nanowires
From ScienceDaily, March 5, 2010
Click the image to read the full article on www.sciencedaily.com)
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 National 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.
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."
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.
Image: Peidong Yang
Scientists Use Gecko's Spider-Man Grip to Develop Super Tape
By Alex Hutchinson, Popular Mechanics, October 2007
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.
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 www.popularmechanics.com) Image: Popular Mechanics and Center for Design Research, Stanford University
Rice Researchers Make Graphene Hybrid
Product Design and Development, March 2, 2010
sheet offers new microelectronic possibilities that scale well below the
limitations of silicon by Moore's Law.
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.
technique has implications for application of graphene materials in
microelectronics that scale well below the limitations of silicon determined by
research from the lab of Pulickel Ajayan, Rice'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.
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 www.pddnet.com)
Image: Rice University/Ajayan Lab
SVC Invites You to the TechCon Exhibit and Offers Free Admission
April 20-21, 2010, Orlando, FL
p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
- Grab and Go Lunches for Sale in the
p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
- Technical Poster Presentations on
p.m. - Spa
Treatment Raffle drawing. Raffle
provided to Exhibit Visitors with their registration packet. Must be present to win. Sponsored by Vacuum Research
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
a.m. - 2:30 p.m. - Vendor Innovators Showcase
Presentations (with a break for lunch)
p.m. - Spa
Treatment Raffle drawing. Raffle
provided to Exhibit Visitors with their registration packet. Must be present to win. Sponsored by Vacuum Research
p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
- Beer Blast, sponsored by VON ARDENNE
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