Solmates-PLD for cleantech:
Solar and batteries

Besides Semicon, Solmates-PLD can contribute to development of sustainable technologies, needed to mitigate climate change.

Cleantech and PLD
Pulsed Laser Deposition in well known in the PV research community. Using Solmates-PLD, it is possible build up a bi-facial cell with six PLD layers, which could simplify the manufacturing process. Early process analysis indicate economic viability on large scale, i.e. 1 wafer per second. Solmates has delivered multiple systems for high-TRL development on large substrates. 

Less known is the potential of PLD in development of advanced solid state batteries. Good progress is made The University of Twente (Professor Mark Huijben) together with the MESA+ Institute of Nanotechnology.

Solmates has several collaborations, both through national and European funding that explore different capabilities of PLD in emerging cleantech applications.

Solmates and PV

Together with its customers, Solmates is exploring different business cases for applications of PLD in silicon-PV processing schemes. Solmates has a long track record in deposition of transparent conducting oxides (TCO’s) on different types of substrates. Especially in cases where control over the kinetic energy of deposition species is key, Solmates gains interest from multiple groups and companies around the world. Also, the variety of different dopants and elements that are tried in TCO thin film deposition these days clearly benefit from the stoichiometric transfer that is easily maintained in PLD.

Besides deposition of TCO thin films, the Silicon-PV market is also looking more and more intense into passivating materials to further enhance the efficiency of solar cell designs. Solmates PLD appears to be a very suitable technology to deposit these layers with a variety of properties. For instance investigation of different oxygen stoichiometries and film porosities could lead to significant performance gains.

Also, the possibility to deposit different materials in-situ without vacuum break is considered to be a major advantage of using PLD for PV applications.

Solmates and batteries

With the increasing electrification of our everyday world, new materials for battery applications are receiving more and more attention. Solid state batteries are an example of such energy storage devices that could be build completely from thin film processes.

This topic is extensively studied at the University of Twente, resulting in an expanding list of publications that benefit from PLD layers in such devices. As the materials that are being explored in such devices are typically ceramic solid compositions containing up to 5 different elements, PLD is the go-to solution for stoichiometric transfer onto different interfaces.

Starting in 2021, Solmates is part of the EPISTORE consortium (see R&D projects) where Solmates will provide the manufacturing solution for the material systems that are developed on research type PLD systems at different project partners. The aim of the project is to provide a power-to-gas solution based on thin films.

Image provided by Prof. M. Huijben.

“Pulsed Laser Deposition based batteries have a high potential. This is related to the fundamental physics of PLD, enabling complex materials and the ability to direct crystal orientation.” Prof. M. Huijben

Adjunct Professor Mark Huijben
University of Twente, MESA+ Institute of Nanotechnology

In the fierce competition, boosting the capacity per kilogram battery, Pulsed Laser Deposition based batteries have a high potential. This is related to the fundamental physics of PLD, enabling complex materials and the ability to direct crystal orientation. For batteries, this can translate into elimination of liquids and/or increased lithium mobility and thus faster charging. Early prototypes confirm the enhanced performance by the realized interface engineering, and the process economics of PLD support large scale viability.

For more information on PLD-based battery research, visit Mark Huijbens website and Twente Centre for Advanced Battery Technology.

Our contribution to shape the connected world

Mobiles, wearables, connectivity… everywhere, anytime. Solmates is used to the fast pace of technological semiconductor progress. 5G is just getting started with many challenges still ahead. Our thin-film Pulsed Laser Deposition hard and software is changing the future of thin film materials.

Examples of applications are MEMS RF-filters, sensors, ultrasonic transducers for motion sensing, uOLED screens, microphones/speakers, phase shifters for 5G mm. Wave base stations, photonic connections in data centers, LIDAR for automotive, satellite communication, monolithic MEMS on CMOS.

The semiconductor companies who are investing in Solmates-PLD to deposit the materials of the future, are the proof PLD is going to have a contribution to the future of mass connectivity.