Flamac and imec combine expertise to develop new materials for solar cells

(PresseBox) (Leuven, Belgium, ) Imec, a leading nanoelectronics research center based in Leuven (Belgium) is working together with Flamac, a division of SIM vzw (Strategisch Initiatief Materialen in Vlaanderen or Strategic Initiative Materials in Flanders) to develop novel semiconductor materials for solar cell applications. Within this collaboration novel materials are screened as an alternative for the standard solar cells made of copper indium gallium and selenium (CIGS).

Flamac's recently installed PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) / PE-CVD (Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapour Deposition) coater allows the automated deposition of a variety of thin film materials. The platform consists of 8 process chambers enabling the study of PVD and PE-CVD coating processes. This coating system combined with the variety of high-throughput analytic tools available at Flamac represents a powerful screening platform for accelerated screening of novel materials.

Imec's research on solar cells focuses on improving the state-of-the-art efficiency and manufacturability of a number of key technologies, most notably silicon-based solar cells, and thin-film solar cells such as organic solar cells and printed inorganic cells based on nanoparticle inks. Imec's thin-film solar cell activities are integrated in the Solliance collaboration platform. Solliance's ambition is to strengthen the position of the Eindhoven-Leuven-Aachen triangle (ELAT region) as a world player in thin film PV. Solliance aims to realize this ambition by joint use of state-of-the-art infrastructure, alignment of research programs, and close cooperation with the solar business community.

"Enabling R&D centres like imec to speed up their materials development is exactly what Flamac aims to achieve. I'm delighted that Flamac and imec have initiated a partnership in this application area," says Johan Paul, manager of Flamac, a division of SIM.

"We consider the cooperation with Flamac as an essential part in the broadening of our PV-portfolio. By combining Flamac's expertise in high-throughput material research with our expertise in thin-film solar cells, we are convinced that we will achieve interesting results in a shorter timeframe. This broadening allows us to maximize the valorization opportunities in Flanders and is a new important step in the strengthening of the ELAT region in the domain of thin-film solar cell technology as we strive to together with Solliance;" commented Jef Poortmans, Program Director Energy at imec.

About Flamac

Flamac is a research centre in high-throughput methodologies which supports the chemical and materials industries. It offers its services in either collaborative or multi-disciplinary government-sponsored research projects as well as in bilateral contract research. Flamac is a division of the Strategic Initiative Materials (SIM). SIM is subsidised by the Flemish Government. Its mission is to enhance strategic collaboration between knowledge institutes and the materials & chemical industries in Flanders.

imec

Imec performs world-leading research in nanoelectronics. Imec leverages its scientific knowledge with the innovative power of its global partnerships in ICT, healthcare and energy. Imec delivers industry-relevant technology solutions. In a unique high-tech environment, its international top talent is committed to providing the building blocks for a better life in a sustainable society. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, and has offices in Belgium, the Netherlands, Taiwan, US, China, India and Japan. Its staff of about 1,900 people includes more than 500 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2010, imec's revenue (P&L) was 285 million euro. Further information on imec can be found at www.imec.be.

Imec is a registered trademark for the activities of IMEC International (a legal entity set up under Belgian law as a "stichting van openbaar nut"), imec Belgium (IMEC vzw supported by the Flemish Government), imec the Netherlands (Stichting IMEC Nederland, part of Holst Centre which is supported by the Dutch Government), imec Taiwan (IMEC Taiwan Co.) and imec China (IMEC Microelectronics (Shangai) Co. Ltd.) and imec India (Imec India Private Limited).

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