In our last newsletter, we outlined that the start-up and calibration of the CIGSolar® tool was producing excellent results. Notable in our last newsletter was that the heaters were responding exactly as engineered and that we were achieving the required temperatures and film thicknesses.
Adding to the good news is that further testing has also shown an absence of pitting in our copper films, which is the most difficult to process. The quality of these copper films confirms that we are on the right path, and what adds to our excitement is that these results are exactly what we expected and were looking to confirm.
Why are non-pitted films so important? Pitting is a sign that not enough heat energy has been focused into the metal gases as they leave the evaporation nozzle. The effects of pitting cause defects in the films that can reduce conversion efficiencies. Why not just turn the heat up? The relationship between the location and how much heat is applied to the entire crucible assembly has to be balanced to create the perfect conditions for high-quality films. If turning up the heat were the solution, many more CIGS companies would have solved their processing issues with the simple turn of temperature knob.
With the system producing excellent results so far, we continue to work to complete the calibration and establish our automated processing set points. This is an incremental process where each step builds on the prior results and enables us to fine-tune each crucible and the system as a whole.
We know that everyone is anxious to hear that the calibration is complete and we are working to finish this step as soon as possible. Many CIGS companies have invested significant amounts of time and money just trying to overcome pitting issues and/or a lack of film uniformity without success. While we cannot finish this work overnight, the results we are achieving so far are extremely encouraging, are exactly what we expected, and are the foundation to delivering a viable processing solution to produce high performance CIGS solar cells.
Thanks for your time, 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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