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System and Method for Sealing a Vapor Deposition Source

Colorado State University

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Technology Marketing Summary

An apparatus for movably sealing a deposition chamber from the rest of a fabrication system under vacuum.

Description

This innovation is intended to be used in a thin film deposition system requiring multiple fabrication steps under a continuous vacuum. In such a system, a substrate will be transported through several stations, each station performing a unique fabrication step on the substrate. For steps in which a thin film of material will be deposited using thermal methods, there is a need to seal the deposition chamber from the rest of the system under vacuum. This technology provides a method and apparatus to movably seal the deposition chamber.
For various reasons, there needs to be sufficient clearance between the substrate transport and the deposition source. However, this clearance creates a gap between the substrate and the source where particles or vapor can escape and deposit on other portions of the vacuum chamber. This causes multiple sources of inefficiency, such as material loss, increased costs for cleaning surfaces inside the vacuum chamber, and lost production time when the process is shut down for cleaning. This technology solves this problem and greatly increases the efficiency of the entire deposition system.
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
  • Compensates for the gap between substrate transport and deposition source
  • Reduces leakage of material from deposition chamber to other surfaces within vacuum system
  • Decreases cleaning costs and minimizes system downtime for cleaning
     
Applications and Industries
  • Thin film solar
  • Deposition of any thin film
Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Date
Patent 8,480,805
Patent
8,480,805
System and method for sealing a vapor deposition source
A system and method for movably sealing a vapor deposition source is described. One embodiment includes a system for coating a substrate, the system comprising a deposition chamber; a vapor pocket located within the deposition chamber; and an at least one movable seal, wherein the at least one movable seal is configured to form a first seal with a first portion of a substrate, and wherein the first seal is configured to prevent a vapor from leaking past the first portion of the substrate out of the vapor pocket. In some embodiments, the movable seal may comprise a first flange, wherein the first flange forms a wall of the vapor pocket; and a second flange, wherein the second flange is configured to be movably disposed within a first groove of the source block.
07/09/2013
Issued
Application 20130340243
Application
20130340243
SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR SEALING A VAPOR DEPOSITION SOURCE
A system and method for movably sealing a vapor deposition source is described. One embodiment includes a system for coating a substrate, the system comprising a deposition chamber; a vapor pocket located within the deposition chamber; and an at least one movable seal, wherein the at least one movable seal is configured to form a first seal with a first portion of a substrate, and wherein the first seal is configured to prevent a vapor from leaking past the first portion of the substrate out of the vapor pocket. In some embodiments, the movable seal may comprise a first flange, wherein the first flange forms a wall of the vapor pocket; and a second flange, wherein the second flange is configured to be movably disposed within a first groove of the source block.
06/07/2013
Filed
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
13-027ProductionAvailable09/26/201409/26/2014

Contact CSU About This Technology

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