RED BANK, NJ -- Natcore Technology Inc. has received delivery of its first intelligent processing station that uses an exclusive liquid phase deposition (LPD) process to grow antireflective (AR) coatings on silicon wafers. These wafers will be central components of solar cells.
Dubbed "AR-Box", the SUV–sized tool is being installed in Natcore's Research & Development Center at Kodak's Eastman Business Park in Rochester, NY. Natcore's President and CEO Chuck Provini, along with Mike Alt, the park's Director, and David Tennity, Kodak Project Manager, met with local contractors to solicit bids for electrical, plumbing and ductwork that will be required to make AR-Box functional. Installation and testing are scheduled for completion by Sept. 9.
AR-Box is a totally enclosed system that contains a pre-clean subsystem, an LPD process subsystem incorporating Natcore's latest sizing and process control input, and a drying module. It has the ability to identify and eliminate unwanted invisible particles to assure uniformity, consistency and a lack of contamination from suspended matter. It has a cooling and heating option that keeps the chemical bath within a range of ±0.5 °C.
AR-Box will also include a module that passivates the surface of "black silicon" solar cells. Passivation will reduce the cell's average reflectivity to less than 1.5 percent, resulting in a significantly increased power output.
The major feature of the device will be its ability to monitor the coating process throughout. Specifically, it will accurately measure the thickness of the AR coating on a wafer while it is submerged in a chemical bath and can alter the composition and duration of the bath in order to produce solar cells with greater simplicity and a high degree of precision.
Natcore believes AR-Box will revolutionize the way solar cells are manufactured. Using its LPD process, AR-Box will replace the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) method that is currently the industry standard. Cells produced in AR-Box will be less expensive and less environmentally harmful than conventional solar cells.