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Apparatus and Method for Rapid Cooling of Large Area Substrates in Vacuum

Colorado State University

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Technology Marketing Summary

This innovation facilitates rapid cooling in a vacuum (from 200 oC to 25 oC) and greatly diminishes the time required to produce complex thin films requiring multiple deposition steps.

Description

Thin film deposition in vacuum requires careful control of substrate temperature, as this has a large effect on the thin film deposition process and the quality of the resulting films. This innovation is intended to be used as part of a multi-layer device fabrication process with multiple steps wherein the substrate temperature must be lowered from one step to the next.

This technology pertains to an apparatus and method for rapidly cooling a large substrate in a vacuum environment. While normal radiative cooling in a vacuum would require a number of hours to cool a substrate from 200 oC to 25 oC, this technology can perform this temperature reduction in 2-4 minutes. Such a dramatic reduction in time can reduce total device fabrication time, increase throughput rate and increase overall manufacturing capacity.

This innovation is part of a large portfolio of thin film technologies specifically developed for CdTe photovoltaic devices but potentially applicable to a wide variety of thin film technologies. Thin film coated substrates are ubiquitous in today's society and have been used for numerous aspects of consumer electronics (from integrated circuit fabrication to cell phone, computer and television display coatings), optics (e.g., coating glass), microparticle fabrication, photovoltaic fabrication, and packaging (e.g., aluminum coating on plastic for potato chip bags).

Benefits
  • Reduces cooling time of a substrate in vacuum from hours to just a few minutes
  • Decreases device fabrication time
  • Increases throughput rate and overall manufacturing capacity
  • Part of a large thin film device manufacturing portfolio
Applications and Industries
  • Thin film solar photovoltaics
  • Other thin film technologies
Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Date
Patent 7,803,419
Patent
7,803,419
Apparatus and method for rapid cooling of large area substrates in vacuum
The present invention is directed to an apparatus and method for rapid cooling of a large substrate in a vacuum environment. A first cooled plate is brought into close proximity with one surface of a flat substrate. The spatial volume between the first cooling plate and the substrate is sealed and brought to a higher pressure than the surrounding vacuum level to increase the cooling efficiency. A second cooled plate is brought into close proximity with the opposite surface of the flat substrate. A second spatial volume between the second cooling plate and the substrate is sealed and the gas pressure is equalized to the gas pressure in the first spatial volume. The equalization of the gas pressure on both sides of the flat substrate eliminates deflection of the substrate and bending stress in the substrate.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory 09/28/2010
Issued
Patent 8,302,554
Patent
8,302,554
Apparatus and method for rapid cooling of large area substrates in vacuum
The present invention is directed to an apparatus and method for rapid cooling of a large substrate in a vacuum environment. A first cooled plate is brought into close proximity with one surface of a flat substrate. The spatial volume between the first cooling plate and the substrate is sealed and brought to a higher pressure than the surrounding vacuum level to increase the cooling efficiency. A second cooled plate is brought into close proximity with the opposite surface of the flat substrate. A second spatial volume between the second cooling plate and the substrate is sealed and the gas pressure is equalized to the gas pressure in the first spatial volume. The equalization of the gas pressure on both sides of the flat substrate eliminates deflection of the substrate and bending stress in the substrate.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory 11/06/2012
Issued
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
07-075ProductionAvailable09/25/201409/25/2014

Contact CSU About This Technology

To: Jeremy Nelson<jeremy.nelson@colostate.edu>