By Nick Gilbert
Natcore Technology has received research and development assignments from five solar device makers to test whether Natcore’s liquid phase deposition (LPD) and black silicon processes can be helpful in cost reduction and performance improvement of their solar devices.
The five companies, which include one European, two North American, two Chinese firms, usually employ plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition technique for depositing films onto their products.
Natcore has received sample wafers from the two North American manufacturers to process some with LPD surface passivation technology, some with black silicon, and some with both technologies. The two Chinese companies have provided Natcore sample wafers for applying ‘absolute black’ antireflective coating, i.e., super low reflectance black silicon with LPD silica passivation.
The European company has sent sample wafers to apply an ultrathin LPD silica layer, which is an essential component of the cell structure that is under pilot production at Natcore. The integration of Natcore's technology will help in considerably reducing cell production costs.
Natcore's proprietary LPD process can grow various inorganic materials such as silicon dioxide-based films over different substrates utilizing an eco-friendly, room-temperature chemical bath, thus shunning the use of adverse and high-cost chemical vapor deposition techniques. The company’s intelligent processing station called AR-Box at its R&D Center located in Rochester, New York, will be used to complete the work. AR-Box utilizes the LPD process to apply thin film coating over different substrates.
Natcore’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Chuck Provini stated that if test results are positive, these manufacturers would probably become key near-term customers for Natcore’s AR-Box and the requisite chemicals. Moreover, the company is in talks with several potential joint ventures in different global markets and positive test results will support the company’s offer in those negotiations.