See You at Intersolar North America
I am proud to be leading the Brooks team at the upcoming Intersolar North America in sunny, beautiful San Francisco. I recently attended Intersolar in Munich and was impressed with how that show has grown to almost fill the huge new Messe in Munich. The halls were crammed with people even on a hot day for Germany, the Thursday session. Intersolar North America appears to be on the same growth trajectory.
Our decision at Brooks to participate in Intersolar NA is a reflection on how great the show was last year and the maturation of the photovoltaic industry. For many of the photovoltaic suppliers, their business models have gone from product development, market acceptance to that of an on-going business that needs to increase productivity using existing capital and continually reduce costs. This is the perfect environment for Brooks material handling products which have been proven in industrial and process industries for decades. Brooks prides itself on developing products that are designed for long term, stable operation which is what is required now for low cost photovoltaic production.
After attending Intersolar Munich, I attended the Glass and Plastic Coating Conference in Braunschweig Germany. Considering the economic climate the conference attendance was very good, with close to 400 attendees from all over the world. One of the themes throughout the presentations was the need for improved low cost transparent conducting oxide (TCO) films to improve the performance of photovoltaic modules. Sputtered indium tin oxide has been the gold standard for producing TCO films but fears of a shortage of indium and the potential high cost of indium has the industry looking for economical alternatives. The alternatives rely on the deposition of doped tin or zinc metal organic compounds using a chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process. These metal organic compounds increase the complexity of the process because they are thermally unstable, sensitive to water vapor and oxygen, are pyrophoric and can be very toxic. New technology is needed to deliver this material to the deposition chamber.
Brooks will highlight on our material handling capabilities at Intersolar with the focus on vaporizing these hard to handle metal organic liquids. Our direct liquid injection (DLI) vapor delivery system accomplishes the task requiring a minimum temperature to convert the liquid to a vapor. The basic principle of this vaporizing technology is the liquid precursor is metered to a heated chamber where the surface area of the liquid is increased by thousands and a gas carries the generated vapor to the chamber. Film thickness is then controlled by the mass delivery rate to the vaporization chamber.
Traditional vaporization methods involve the use of a bubbler system where the liquid is heated and a gas carries the vapor to the deposition chamber. This requires a large volume of liquid to be stored near the process which is a safety hazard. The Brooks direct liquid injection vaporizer system requires no local inventory of liquid increasing process safety.
Other material handling products that will be highlight at the show are our line of GF Series mass flow controllers which are designed to be the most accurate and stable gas flow controllers on the market. These products have been proven in the semiconductor industry and the same values of process stability over widely varying conditions of inlet pressure should be valued in the solar market. We will also introduce our Teflon Liquid Flow Control instrumentation at the show which should find use in real time blending of etch chemicals used for silicon solar cell texturing and material metering for dye and silicon ink solar cells.
My final wish for Intersolar North America is that it to be volcano free. I don’t want anything to stop the thousands of European visitors from enjoying San Francisco in July. See you there.