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Oregon State University Researchers Develop Continuous Flow Microreactor for Making Absorbers for Thin Film Solar Cells
Source/Type: News - Staff reports

Author: CompoundSemi News Staff

April 20, 2010... Engineers from Oregon State University and Yeungnam University in Korea have written an article appearing in Current Applied Physics, about a system that performs chemical bath deposition to produce absorbers for thin film solar cells. Chemical bath deposition was actually developed more than a hundred years ago, but it was difficult to control the thickness, and the depletion of reactants also limits the achievable thickness.

The OSU engineers invented a continuous flow microreactor to deposit "nanostructure films" on surfaces. This technology reportedly addresses some of the issues with chemical bath deposition, and the engineers expect that eventually the process may be more commercially viable. “We’ve now demonstrated that this system can produce thin-film solar absorbers on a glass substrate in a short time, and that’s quite significant,” said Chih-hung Chang, an associate professor in the OSU School of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering. “That’s the first time this has been done with this new technique.”

According to Chang, more work is needed on process control, testing of the finished solar cell, improving its efficiency to rival that of vacuum-based technology, and scaling up the process to a commercial application. More advances such as this are expected to emerge from the new Oregon Process Innovation Center for Sustainable Solar Cell Manufacturing, a $2.7 million initiative based at OSU, which will include the the work of about 20 faculty from OSU, the University of Oregon, Portland State University and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Oregon State University News

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