Excellent progress and good news continues to follow us into November. As October came to an end, we completed the assembly of the CIGSolar® tool and received notification that our CIGSolar® trademark had been granted. This month, the start-up and calibration of the system is producing excellent results.
After some minor adjustments of the numerous system ports and access flanges, the CIGSolar® system achieved better than expected vacuum levels. In order to process metal films, we’d like vacuum levels in the mid 10¯⁶ Torr range. Our system easily achieved an order-of-magnitude better vacuum reaching into the low 10¯⁷ Torr and delivered an excellent rate-of-rise, which defines the system’s ability to hold the vacuum after the pumping stops. These ranges were better than expected and we are excited about the results.
On the processing side, we are working with the heating system, which is arguably the most critical part of an evaporation system and needs to achieve temperatures over 1400ᶜ and deliver near perfect thermal uniformity. Working in unison with the heaters are the thermal evaporation crucibles in which our CIGS metals are heated to the point of evaporation. We are testing and calibrating these assemblies for proper deposition rates to establish our automated processing set points.
Thus far, the heaters have responded exactly as engineered and anticipated and we are achieving the required film thicknesses. Although we are making excellent progress, there are additional incremental steps necessary to fine tune and complete the calibration processes. The good news is that the results so far are exactly what we are looking for.
Now that the system was producing films, it was time to un-pack and set-up our metrology and testing equipment. Fortunately, we have advanced metrology equipment necessary for testing and validating film thickness (step profilometry), composition (x-ray fluorescence), light and dark I-V, and quantum efficiencies in our lab. This enables us to verify films immediately upon completion while the next set of substrates are being processed in the CIGSolar® system.
What is most exciting for XsunX is that we are accomplishing these goals and milestones to deliver a viable alternative to the use of silicon to the solar industry using our own proprietary designs.
Yes, there’s more work to accomplish, but with each day our progress has improved and we are looking forward to getting the the system fully calibrated and ready for demonstrations.
Thanks for your time and patience, have a great Thanksgiving, and we look forward to sharing more progress in the near future.
The XsunX Team
To learn more about XsunX’s’ breakthrough technology please visit https://www.xsunx.com.
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