c-Si High Vacuum Processing Equpment

The Situation

The client had developed a revolutionary approach to making wafer based photovoltaic (PV) cells that promised to dramatically reduce the cost of the c-Si substrates. The technology had been successfully demonstrated in the R+D lab, and now the client needed to rapidly develop a high throughput production ready machine that was would be deployed into one of the world’s largest PV factories.

The Challenge

Achieving the high throughputs required in the solar PV industry required an innovative machine architecture. Further, the client’s process required a high vacuum environment and precise substrate positioning. Thermal loading and cooling in a vacuum were critical to achieve the required performance specifications.

The Solution

Owens Design worked collaboratively with the client to evaluate multiple machine architectures to optimize performance, throughput, and cost. Once the optimum architecture was chosen, Owens developed the high vacuum chambers and their related electrical and plumbing systems. Precision control over substrate location was achieved through careful design of compliant interfaces and active control. Owens integrated the chambers with system control software and completed a full functional test under vacuum.