Altatech Launches New CVD System to Deposit Advanced Materials Needed in Photovoltaic Manufacturing

MONTBONNOT, France, October 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

Altatech, a subsidiary of Soitec, announced today that it has introduced a multi-chamber chemical vapor deposition (CVD) system that enables photovoltaic (PV) cell manufacturers to develop and optimize their solar cell designs using advanced thin-film deposition of amorphous silicon and other materials. By performing all deposition processes within a single system, the new AltaCVD Solarlab™ tool reduces cycle times and materials consumption in fabricating advanced single-junction, tandem-junction and triple-junction PV cells.

Using the AltaCVD Solarlab, customers can deposit transparent conducting oxide (TCO) films that deliver the superior optical characteristics, high doping mobility and smooth, defect-free surfaces needed to optimize efficiency of their solar cells.

"Extending our core CVD technology for use in solar cell development presents an additional market opportunity for us," said Jean-Luc Delcarri, general manager of Soitec's Altatech subsidiary. "Reducing the amount of material used in cells and improving photovoltaic conversion performance will be the keys to growth in the next few years. We look forward to continuing to apply our deposition expertise in both R&D and commercial applications for the renewable-energy industry."

In creating its newest CVD system, Soitec's Altatech subsidiary leveraged its patented chamber architecture and deposition technology, which enables the use of new precursor gases to achieve extremely high film uniformity and tightly controlled stoichiometry. These capabilities have been production-proven on the company's AltaCVD platform, which has been used in both engineering and volume manufacturing of advanced semiconductor devices since 2008.

The AltaCVD Solarlab system has the versatility to perform standard thermal CVD processing as well as plasma-enhanced CVD and atomic-layer deposition. These processes can be run over a wide spectrum of temperatures, from 100° C to 800° C, to create photosensitive films that can maximize the efficiency of PV cells in converting sunlight to electricity. In addition, the system can handle a variety of substrates, including transparent glass and both round or square silicon wafers with thicknesses ranging from 150 microns to several centimeters.

Soitec plans to begin shipping AltaCVD Solarlab systems to customers by the end of this year.

About Altatech Technology and Equipment Expertise

The Altatech division offers a unique portfolio of equipment for mature and advanced materials deposition and holistic defect inspection. It develops highly efficient, cost-effective inspection and chemical vapor deposition (CVD) technologies used for R&D and manufacturing of semiconductors, LEDs, MEMS and photovoltaic devices. Altatech Semiconductor S.A. became a subsidiary of Soitec in January 2012.

About Soitec

Soitec is an international manufacturing company, a world leader in generating and manufacturing revolutionary semiconductor materials at the frontier of the most exciting energy and electronic challenges. Soitec's products include substrates for microelectronics (most notably SOI: Silicon-on-Insulator) and concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) systems. The company's core technologies are Smart Cut™, Smart Stacking™ and Concentrix™, as well as expertise in epitaxy. Applications include consumer and mobile electronics, microelectronics-driven IT, telecommunications, automotive electronics, lighting products and large-scale solar power plants. Soitec has manufacturing plants and R&D centers in France, Singapore, Germany and the United States. For more information, visit:

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SOURCE Soitec and Altatech