Hanwha Q Cells to evaluate SoLayTec InPassion technology

Fresh from news of its acquisition by U.S. equipment supplier Amtech Group, SoLayTec has announced that its technology is going into the “Innovation Line” at Hanwha Q Cell’s German operations. SoLayTec, which was acquired by Amtech subsidary Tempress in December 2014, claims its ALD tool delivers thinner and a more uniform and thinner aluminum oxide layer, giving it an advantage over PECVD tooling.

SoLayTec’s announcement that it is supplying ALD tooling to Hanwha Q Cells comes after “years of intensive discussions,” the company reports.

“Last month in November SoLayTec announced it sold its first production machine in the U.S. for a 100MW n-type bi-facial cell line. Now also Hanwha Q CELLS decided to start the evaluation of the InPassion ALD system from SoLayTec for its high efficiency cell concepts in Thalheim (Germany).”

SoLayTec’s Görtzen says that the company’s goal is to demonstrate that the InPassion ALD process has a higher potential than the plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) approach.

“The biggest advantages of our spatial ALD tool compared to PECVD are a better step coverage, a stable uniformity and a layer thickness requirement of only 5 nm Al2O3,” said Görtzen. “Furthermore, if in the ALD cell process flow a direct PECVD is used for the SiN capping layer an integrated annealing process can be implemented, resulting in better cell performance compared to PECVD AlOx

SoLayTec has previously announced a 60 MW supply deal for its InPassion technology, to an unnamed Asian manufacturer. The company is a spin off from Dutch research body TNO. Singapore’s SERIS purchased InPassion tooling in 2012.