Newsletter October SVConnections

In This Issue
*ZSW World Record 20.3%
*EMPA World Record 17.6%
*Certification for Flexible CIGS
*Miasolé World Record 14%
*AQT Production at CIGS Facility
*Solar Cell Efficiency Puzzle
*Top 4 Clean Tech Predictions
*New Solar Energy Conversion Process
*NASA Climate/Weather Satellite
*Membrane Controlled by Light

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

Rotary Vane Pumps

PentaLineTM rotary vane pumps, with an optimized drive system, provides cost-effective, environmentally friendly vacuum, for a wide range of applications in the low and medium vacuum range down to 10-3 mbar. Available in pumping speeds up to 35 m3/h, PentaLineTM is hermetically sealed for leak-free vacuum, and provides compatible voltage for worldwide use.

For More Information Click Here


Qulee Family

ULVAC offers three compact quadrupole mass spectrometers - the low cost Qulee BGM, Qulee CGM for high pressures and Qulee HGM for the highest sensitivity. All feature ease-of-operation and an integrated display and control eliminates the need for a PC. One-touch control displays the partial pressure in Torr, mbar, or Pascal of He, H2O, N2, O2, O2/N2 ratio and user selected gas.

Learn More
NEW! CB 5000 High Frequency RF Power Supply Now at 40.68 MHz and 60MHz
Comdel's CB 5000 high frequency power just got higher with 40.68 MHz and 60 MHz models.  The CB5000 brings the highest power and frequency while keeping its small package and lightweight design. It delivers 5000 Watts with forward or delivered power mode regulation and has patented S-Technology for the ultimate process stability. Learn more.


11 Kondelin Road
Gloucester, MA 01930
Tel: 978-282-0620 or 800-468-3144
Fax: 978-282-4980


Reduce your development time, improve your thin film process performance and cut your costs with Evatec's new "Optics Toolbox" - Seamless integration of thin film design software, layer end point strategy, optical monitoring, process recipe generation and execution with Khan system and process controller on BAK Evaporator and MSP Sputter platforms.

(603) 669-9656
Vacuum Research Corp Valves
Large Throttle Valves

Throttle Valves with ports as large as 500 mm, ISO-500 or ANSI 20 inch.  Also any flange style as small as NW-25.  Aluminum, steel or stainless steel.



MEWASA has expanded the manufacturing possibilities of its bellows production, allowing the manufacture of bellows up to 1100mm in diameter. Combined with the modern PC-based control, our machine provides the flexibility to weld arbitrary bellows profiles, including oval shaped bellows with inside dimensions of 66.7 to 117.5mm.  MEWASA has widened its capabilities, offering greater design solutions to meet your engineering applications, whether it is larger dimensions or different profile shapes.

Contact: Ira Miller,
General Manager,
Mewasa North America
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.


Dynavac's 1-meter Optical Coating System
is a cost-effective tool for producing high-quality precision optics. Its versatile design supports a wide range of process options including IAD, and the split-cylinder chamber provides easy maintenance while minimizing footprint. System interface and control is simple and supports download capability from most thin film design packages.
Telephone:  781-740-8600

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.



UC Components

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

UC Components Inc.


Veeco provides RF Linear Ion Sources for uniform processing of medium and large scale substrates featuring a broad power range and patented four-grid beam collimation technology to meet your application needs with proven reliability and performance.

To Learn More Visit:



Mustang Vacuum Systems ORION Roll to Roll Deposition Systems
Substrate: Up to 10,000 FT length, 1000 MM wide flexible substrates configured with 1-10 deposition sources for precision and speed.  Deposition zones are individually configurable for PVD sputter, evaporation, co evaporation and sublimation enabling the next generation of thin film technologies.

Learn More
Contact us via E-Mail:

SVC 2011 TechCon in Chicago, IL
Chicago Skyline

Join the Society of Vacuum Coaters
April 16-21, 2011
for its 54th Annual TechCon
at the beautiful
Hyatt Regency Chicago on the
River Walk

Call for Papers
and Exhibit Prospectus
is Now Available
in Print and On-Line

Submit Your Abstract Today!

Reserve a Booth On-Line

Review the TechCon Preliminary Tutorial Roster

Become a TechCon Sponsor
SVC On-Location Education Program
in Beijing, China
October 18-19, 2010

On-Location Education in China

Join SVC in Beijing, China October 18-19, 2010
for this English language presentation of the SVC Tutorial Course
"Vacuum Systems, Materials and Operation"
Instructor: John O'Hanlon, University of Arizona

Click here to learn more
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The Society of Vacuum Coaters has been diligently preparing for the 54th Annual TechCon - being held in Chicago, IL in April 2011.  This year's feature is a Symposium format, highlighting today's hottest topics, including manufacturing and technology for thin film photovoltaics and vacuum coating's place in tomorrow's technology.  Along the same lines, SVConnections provides a similar service, linking today's technological news with our readership.  You are welcome to forward the Society of Vacuum Coaters a link of interest for consideration in future issues of SVConnections.  Just e-mail us at
ZSW Sets New CIGS Photovoltaic World Record, 20.3% CIGS Solar Cell Efficiency

Researchers at ZSW -Zentrum für Sonnenenergie- und Wasserstoff-Forschung Baden-Württemberg, Germany and Centre for SolarZSW Energy and Hydrogen Research in Stuttgart, Germany have achieved a CIGS solar cell conversion efficiency of 20.3%. The solar cell is 0.5 square centimeters. The contact layers have a total thickness of only 4 microns, which is 50 times thinner than standard silicon cells.

Dr. Michael Powalla, member of the ZSW board and head of the photovoltaics division said "Our researchers have made the cells in a CIGS laboratory coating plant using a modified co-evaporation process, which in principle can be scaled up to commercial production processes. The Fraunhofer ISE in Freiburg, Germany, has confirmed the new results. However, it would take a while before the increased efficiency of CIGS solar cells can be commercially utilized."

ZSW has been working with industrial partner Würth Solar to develop their CIGS thin-film solar module technology to enable industrial production. Recently Würth Solar (Schwäbisch Hall, Germany) signed an exclusive licensing and strategic alliance agreement with Manz Automation AG, a leading supplier of photovoltaic production systems (Reutlingen, Germany), giving their production technology for CIGS PV modules to Manz Automation.  Contract includes Manz Automation supporting Würth Solar's future CIGS module manufacturing expansions.

Click on the links to read theses articles:

Semiconductor Today:

New Efficiency Record of 17.6% Set by EMPA for Flexible CIGS Solar Cells on Polymer Films

Researchers at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Material Science and Technology (EMPA) working closely with FLISOM Company have set a new record of 17.6% for the efficiency of flexible thin film solar cells on polymer film. Dr. Ayodhya N. Tiwari at the Laboratory of Thin Films and Photovoltaics led the team that developed the process.  The efficiency has been independently verified by Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) in Freiburg, Germany.

Using polymer films used as a substrate is challenging. Polymers have high thermal expansion coefficients, which cause large stresse
s in layers deposited at high temperatures and leads to cracks and delamination of solar cells from the substrate. Doctoral student Adrian Chirila and other colleagues working under the supervision of Dr. Tiwari developed a vacuum evaporation process at low temperature (around 450ºC) which produced high quality CIGS absorber layers.   These can be used with polyimide film as a flexible substrate for roll-to-roll manufacturing.

The 17.6% cell efficiency was achieved by reducing the optical and electronic losses in the CIGS solar cell structure. They optimized the composition gradient of Ga across the CIGS layer thickness and incorporated Na doping during the final stage of the growth process.

The low temperature process for CIGS deposition enables the same process and equipment to be used for polymer as well as metal foils. "Lower thermal budget and roll-to-roll manufacturing of high efficiency flexible CIGS solar cells will pave the way for substantial reduction in production costs of the next generation of solar modules produced at an industrial scale."

Click on the link for more information
Renewable Energy World:

Image: EMPA, Switzerland

SoloPower is First Company to Receive UL Certification for Flexible CIGS Modules

SoloPower (San Jose, California) has received Underwriters SoloPowerLaboratory's (UL) first certification of a high-power flexible solar photovoltaic module. Their light-weight CIGS modules passed rigorous UL 1703 PV module manufacturing safety testing.
"The certification of SoloPower's flexible CIGS module is an important step toward the realization of lightweight, high-power, flexible solar modules with potential to expand the roof-top solar market and reduce balance of system costs. It is an important milestone for the industry. I feel very gratified to see, after a 30-year career in Thin Film CIGS PV at NREL, the technology become mature," said Dr. Rommel Noufi, principal scientist of the NREL. 
The modules range from 80Wp to 260Wp. SoloPower claims lower installation costs and comparable reliability to traditional silicon-based modules. They displayed their modules at the European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference, September 6-9, 2010 in Valencia, Spain. SoloPower is talking with U.S. Department of Energy in effort to obtain loan guarantee under EPACT 2005 Section 1703 for production expansion.
SoloPower was also the first manufacturer to receive UL certification for rigid CIGS PV modules in June 2009. 

Click on the links for more information:
SoloPower: and

Image: SoloPower
Record-Breaking Week for PV Industry Continues with MiaSolé's 14% Efficiency Flex Solar Modules

MiasoleMiaSolé (Santa Clara, California) has raised the bar on commercial CIGS module efficiency. They announced on September 2, 2010 that their large (1 meter square) area production modules have achieved 14.3% conversion efficiency which was confirmed independently by NREL. This is the highest independently confirmed efficiency for a commercial scale CIGS module.
"We are pleased that we continue to make progress in the execution of our technology, cost reduction and manufacturing roadmaps," said Dr. Joseph Laia, CEO of MiaSolé.
The Stuttgart-based researchers at ZSW, (Zentrum für Sonnenenergie- und Wasserstoff-Forschung Baden-Württemberg, Germany, Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research) announced earlier that have achieved 20.3% DIGS solar cell efficiency with their 0.5 square centimeters cell. 

Click on the links for more information:
Read more on:

Image: Miasolé
AQT Solar Begins Production at First CIGS Facility

Applied Quantum Technology (AQT) Solar (Santa Clara, California) AQT Solarwas founded in 2007. They have spent around $15 million and have now opened their first fully operational CIGS thin-film solar cells facility in Sunnyvale, California. Preparation, build-out, line implementation and qualification, and production start-up was completed in less than eight weeks. They are now producing solar cells to fill the 20 MW of customer orders, with substantial purchase orders in the pipeline.

AQT's new facility is a modular 15 MW manufacturing line in a small footprint of 20,000 square feet. It will be able to complete 400 cells per hour, Mr. Bartholomeusz said. "'AQT's customers, the panel manufacturers, will put 60 cells in each panel, which should have a 205-watt rating', said Kirk Hayes, an AQT equipment and site operations engineer. 'The Intevac machine features 20 deposition chambers, though AQT plans to use six initially', Hayes said. 'The additional chambers will give AQT room to improve its manufacturing process and boost production rates later', he added."

National Renewable Energy Laboratory verified that AQT's solar cells had an efficiency of 11.2 percent.  AQT reports that recent improvements have raised that efficiency to 12 percent.  When the cells hit the commercial market later this year or in early 2011, the company expects cell efficiencies to be at 14 percent with a finished solar module to be at 12 percent efficiency.

Click on the link to learn more:
AQT Solar:

Image: AQT Solar

Simulations Cast Light on CIGS Solar Cell Efficiency Puzzle

Researchers at Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, IBM and Universität Duisburg-Essen have run computer simulations of CIGS alloys that suggest that "indium segregation effects may play an important role in reducing the conversion efficiencies of photovoltaic/solar cell devices."
"The starting point for the study was the observation that, despite an optimal bandgap for solar radiation absorption suggesting that a CIGS material with 70% Ga should yield the highest efficiency, in fact 30% Ga is experimentally found to be best.  The estimate is based on the badgaps of the non-alloyed materials in CuInSe2 (1.0eV) and CuGaSe2  (1.7eV)."

The studies "suggest that fast cooling of high-temperature processed material could minimize bandgap fluctuations, leading to better solar cell performance. The authors comment: The lack of phase separation in actual solar cells shows that the In-Ga distribution is 'frozen' in a high-temperature state. Thus, higher production temperatures and a reasonably fast cooling will lead to better efficiencies, which have recently been shown experimentally."

"In practice, such fast cooling has been limited by the heat resistance of the glass used as a substrate for CIGS solar cells. "To enable faster cooling of CIGS solar cells, Schott AG has developed a special glass with which the process temperature can be increased to well above 600°C. The cells that result are considerably more homogeneous, opening the way to cells with greater efficiency levels."
CIGS unit cells showing positions of atoms : Red:Cu, Yellow:Se, Blue:In/Ga

Click on the link to learn more:
Semiconductor Today:

Image: Wikimedia Commons
Top 4 Clean-Tech Predictions for 2H 2010

How companies
Cascadia Capital LLC are adjusting to the realities of the new energy landscape, according to Michael Butler, Chairman and CEO of Cascadia Capital, August 18, 2010

Michael Butler, Chairman and CEO of Cascadia Capita, predicts that clean energy (solar and wind) will be the significant story of 2010. Clean energy M&A (mergers and acquisitions) volume in Q1 2010 was at an all time high of $17.6 billion. He sees the following four trends shaping the future of clean energy.
1) Continued acceleration of cross-border M&A , international companies buying U.S. companies.
2) Continued emphasis on capital efficient business models. The current second generation of CIGS business models are not relying on large capital investments. Companies have a goal of achieving manufacturing scale at lowest cost without billion dollar factories. 
3) Vertical integration of wind and solar supply chain. Expect to see more examples such as Siemens AG acquisition of Isreal-based parabolic trough power receiver manufacturer, Solel Solar Systems. Such integrations mitigate risk and may also reduce manufacturing cost, making funds available for other projects.
4) Continued movement away from early stage opportunities. Investors want reduced risk by investing in 'late stage' clean energy companies with proven technology, strong customer acceptance resourceful management teams and capital-efficient business models. Clean tech venture capital investments in Q2 2010 totaled $1.5 billion, which is highest amount since Q3 2008. Also, investors are putting larger amounts in fewer deals as shown by the 64% increase in 2010 invested dollars over Q2 2009. 
Click on the links to learn more:
Renewable Energy World:
Also Cascadia Capital:

Image: Cascadia Capital

New Solar Energy Conversion Process Discovered by Stanford Engineers Could Revamp Solar Power Production

BY LOUIS BERGERON, Stanford Report, August 2, 2010

"A new process that simultaneously combines the light and heat of solar radiation to generate electricity could offer more than double the efficiency of existing solar cell technology, say the Stanford engineers who discovered it and proved that it works.

Stanford University

The process, called 'photon enhanced thermionic emission,' or PETE, could reduce the costs of solar energy production enough for it to compete with oil as an energy source.

Stanford engineers have figured out how to simultaneously use the light and heat of the sun to generate electricity in a way that could make solar power production more than twice as efficient as existing methods and potentially cheap enough to compete with oil.

Unlike photovoltaic technology currently used in solar panels - which becomes less efficient as the temperature rises - the new process excels at higher temperatures."


Click on the link to read the entire article:

Stanford University:

Image: Courtesy of Nick Melosh, Stanford University

Final Instruments on NASA Climate/Weather Satellite Integrated

GREENBELT, Md. - "The last of five instruments slated to fly on the upcoming NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) climate and weather satellite have been successfully integrated, according to NASA officials. The polar-orbiting satellite is scheduled to launch in late 2011.

NASANASA's NPP weather satellite shown in a Ball Aerospace clean room where the instruments have be integrated and the spacecraft is now preparing for environmental testing prior to its October 2011 launch. Credit: Ball Aerospace The NPP satellite was an pre-cursor mission to the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) that has recently been restructured. The last instrument, Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS), is an advanced atmospheric sensor, built by ITT Corporation, Fort Wayne, Ind. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo., built the NPP spacecraft and is performing the integration and checkout of the NPP satellite.

The CrIS mechanical, electrical and performance testing was successfully completed and the NPP Satellite team is now working to finish the satellite Pre-Environmental Test baseline performance phase. The Environmental Test flow, which includes Dynamics, Electromagnetic Compatibility, and Thermal testing, is scheduled to begin this October.

The five-instrument suite will collect and distribute remotely sensed land, ocean, and atmospheric data to the meteorological and global climate change communities. It will provide atmospheric and sea surface temperatures, humidity sounding, land and ocean biological productivity, cloud and aerosol properties and total/profile ozone measurements."

Click on the link to read the full article:

Image: Courtesty of NASA

Purple Light Means Go, Ultraviolet Light Means Stop

August 2 ,2010

"A new membrane developed at the University of Rochester's University of RochesterLaboratory for Laser Energetics blocks gas from flowing through it when one color of light is shined on its surface, and permits gas to flow through when another color of light is used. It is the first time that scientists have developed a membrane that can be controlled in this way by light.
Eric Glowacki, a graduate student at the University's Laboratory for Laser Energetics, and Kenneth Marshall, his advisor, invented the membrane. Marshall will present their findings at the annual conference of the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE) in San Diego on Aug. 1.

The membrane is a piece of hard plastic riddled with tiny holes that are filled with liquid crystals and a dye. When purple light illuminates the surface of the membrane, the dye molecules straighten out and the liquid crystals fall into line, which allows gas to easily flow through the holes. But when ultraviolet light illuminates the surface, the dye molecules bend into a banana shape and the liquid crystals scatter into random orientations, clogging the tunnel and blocking gas from penetrating."

Click on the link to read the full article:
University of Rochester:

Image: Courtesy of the University of Rochester
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