Photovoltaic Innovations with the SmartTrak® 100

Solar photovoltaic installations are currently generating power in over 100 countries. They continue to be the world’s fastest-growing type of electricity generation. Due to the increasing demand for renewable energy sources, manufacturing of photovoltaic arrays and solar cells have advanced significantly in recent years.

PVD Films on Photovoltaics

Physical vapor deposition (PVD) or sputtering is typically used for developing the films used to build photovoltaic panels. Sustaining a precise gas mass flow rate to the vacuum chamber is vital during the PVD process.

As there is very minimal pressure drop to work with, PVD processes need flow control devices that are comparatively insensitive to the absolute pressure in the chamber. This excludes differential pressure (dP) devices like orifice plates that need a large pressure differential to function efficiently.

Sierra's Solution

Sierra’s SmartTrak® 100 with Compod™, with an installed base of 100,000 instruments around the world, are providing precise measurement to the PVD process.

In contrast to traditional differential pressure (dP) devices, Sierra's SmartTrak® 100 with Compod™ functions accurately in the high vacuum PVD environment, automatically making up for the loss of pressure from the gas source (cylinder depletion) or the changes in system pressure (vacuum pump fluctuations).

Since the layers deposited by PVD processes can, in numerous cases, be only molecules thick, highly precise delivery techniques of the doping gases are needed. Inaccuracies occurring in gas measurement during this doping process can result in thousands of dollars of loss due to lost product and increased gas costs because of inefficiencies.

The SmartTrak® 100 with Compod, with its Laminar Flow Element and proprietary frictionless-hovering control valve, provides a precisely controlled gas mass flow rate to the vacuum chamber to enhance gas delivery efficiency and guarantee a quality product.

SmartTrak® 100 Features

The Sierra’s SmartTrak® 100 with Compod is an ideal choice for the following reasons:

  • RS-485 / Modbus RTU device
  • Reduced capital equipment and installation costs by automating complex gas process with the Compod™ - There is no need for computers or external PLCs
  • With a Compod™, SmartTrak® 100 becomes a totally network-enabled multi-drop
  • Inherently linear Laminar Flow Element offers accuracy of +/- 1% of full scale which enhances product quality
  • Daisy-chain multiple MFC’s on a single network, then transmit and receive data, alarms and commands or carry out remote diagnostics and data logging


This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Sierra Instruments.

For more information on this source, please visit Sierra Instruments.


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