US, Dutch/German collab pushing solar diffusion furnace

Jan. 24, 2008 – A new collaborative effort involving Tempress Systems (a subsidiary of semiconductor/PV automation systems supplier Amtech Systems), Dutch-German solar cell manufacturer Solland Solar, the Energy Research Centre of The Netherlands, and an unnamed “global chemical company” has been formed to jointly research and develop an inline/conveyor diffusion furnace system for solar cell manufacturing.

Under the deal, Tempress will provide its know-how of solar diffusion conveyor furnace manufacturing, and will retain worldwide manufacturing and marketing rights to the codeveloped system. An unspecified portion of the R&D costs will reimbursed by Dutch government grants.

Tempress and ECN have been working since mid-2006 on R&D to develop a new production process for solar cells suitable for n-type silicon (using boron diffusion and high-temperature oxidation), and to improve the efficiency of solar cells using Tempress’ diffusion furnace systems.

“Expanding our product offerings to include in-line diffusion furnace systems along with our proven batch diffusion furnace systems will provide significant additional growth opportunities for us within the rapidly growing solar market,” said J.S. Whang, president/CEO of Amtech Systems, in a statement.

The resulting inline diffusion furnace is expected to be introduced in 2010.


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