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Posted: January 16, 2008

Braggone and Beneq Team Up to Offer Turnkey Solution That Dramatically Increases Efficiencies of Solar Cells

(Nanowerk News) Braggone, the optoelectronics materials company, has signed a joint development agreement with equipment supplier Beneq that offers a turnkey solution to provide a custom matched material and toolset for the maximum manufacturing efficiency and product performance of solar cells. Demand for new turnkey solutions is rapidly increasing in the equipment intensive photovoltaic (PV) industry and this collaboration will further accelerate the growth of Braggone in solar applications.
Braggone recently announced a new product line that greatly increases the efficiency of solar cells and allows manufacturing facilities to cost-effectively increase their capacity. The custom designed compounds, custom tuned at the silicon and metal-oxide based polymer level, can dramatically reduce reflection from glass and silicon, and therefore, deliver substantially more light to the active regions of the solar cell, resulting in higher efficiencies. The tool solutions from Beneq are based on extensive experience in providing equipment for applying thin film coatings on functional surfaces such as glass and metals. The spray coating method used is made possible by a new, Beneq proprietary high-capacity two-fluid atomizer, which reduces the droplet diameter to submicron size, enabling high-speed processing. The combination of materials from Braggone and the manufacturing solution from Beneq will help solar cell suppliers dramatically reduce their cost per peak Watt.
“We estimate that solar cell manufacturers can reduce certain manufacturing costs by up to 50%, while increasing significantly their cell and module efficiencies,” commented Ari Karkkainen, Braggone CTO. “Our target is to push conventional cell relative quantum efficiencies up by 5% through the use of our products. That can mean more than 50% power output increase at the module level.”
“Due to the collaboration with Beneq, we can deliver increased performance and reduced costs all in one turnkey solution,” Karkkainen added. “Our system has been designed in a way that it meets industrial requirements of high efficiency PV device manufacturing. With our materials and process platform flexibility, we can address efficiency improvement requirements in crystalline silicon and thin solar cells as well as in module processes. Our technology allows our customers to achieve superior optical confinement as well as excellent front and rear passivation in combination with a high bulk lifetime. Our aim is to make sub-one euro per peak watt manufacturing costs a reality.”
Maximum throughput, lower cost-of-ownership – process can eliminate CVD tools
When compared to materials such as silicon nitride, the Braggone materials can cut reflection by half and costs associated with deposition tools by even more than half. Braggone tunes the optics of the cell by spray, slit, spin, or dip-coating layers of molecularly tailored anti-reflective and hydrogenation coatings in a rapid and cost-effective atmospheric in-line process rather than having to use expensive chemical vapor deposition (CVD) tools.
Substantial savings result from:
  • Maximum throughput and elimination of batch processing bottleneck with in-line process
  • Vacuumless process conducted in atmospheric conditions means high throughput and uptime
  • Double the anti-reflective performance of Braggone materials compared to silicon nitride
  • Less consumables used
  • Small tool footprint increases fab floor space
  • As much as 10 times less electricity used than with a CVD tool
  • Much lower cost-of-ownership than a CVD process
  • The system is applicable for both crystalline wafers and large, thin film solar glass substrates, as well as module glass. One tool can produce multiple refractive index (RI) films and films with both optical anti-reflective coatings (ARC) and electrical functions (passivation, hydrogenation) that are absolutely necessary to dramatically boost cell efficiencies. This announcement is the first in what Braggone believes will be a series of collaborations with toolmakers to demonstrate the performance of these materials with different application methods.
    Recently announced multi-million dollar funding
    Braggone announced last week that it has received multi-million dollar funding from TEKES (The National Technology Agency of Finland) to commercialize their polymer materials for worldwide commercialization. TEKES is the same funding agency behind Nokia’s dramatic success in the cell phone market.
    About Braggone
    With offices located in Oulu, Finland, London, UK, and Hong Kong, SAR China, Braggone is an innovative technology company focused on the manufacturing of advanced optoelectronic and information electronic materials and components. Braggone’s portfolio of materials (17 filed patents, four of which have already been granted) and processes are utilized to improve performance and facilitate production for various component and system structures. The company’s current materials products are applied in digital displays used in mobile phones and televisions, advanced semiconductors, digital cameras, photovoltaic panels, LEDs and memory for PCs and MP3 devices. Through fundamental materials development and advanced process applications, Braggone works closely with its clients to increase their products’ performance in flat panel displays, semiconductors, LEDs and solar cells. Additional information can be found at www.braggone.com.
    About Beneq
    Beneq, OY, Vantaa, Finland, is a nanotechnology driven company with a strong IR portfolio offering manufacturing equipment and technology for functional coating. Beneq’s offerings include equipment based on Hot Aerosol Layering Operation (nHALO®) and Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) technologies. HALO is a flame spray technology, used mainly for applying functional coatings on glass and ceramic tiles. It is also used for multi-component nanoparticle synthesis. ALD systems are used to produce accurate, pinhole-free and conformal thin-film coatings on various substrates. See www.beneq.com.
    Source: Braggone/Beneq