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Advanced Evaporative Deposition System with Embedded Heater Element and Shutter

Colorado State University

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Technology Marketing Summary

A device for evaporative deposition of thin films that offers more efficient heating and greater deposition control. Key features include an embedded heater element and a shutter system.


Typical evaporative deposition systems can be used for close space sublimation (CSS) or heated pocket deposition (HPD) processes and include a source (or crucible) that contains a deposition material. The source is commonly heated using high intensity infrared bulbs – a method that frequently leads to inefficient power use and potential heating of the surrounding shielding and support structures.

Researchers at CSU have developed an advanced system and method to more effectively heat a source crucible. At the core of the system is a sublimation crucible with an embedded nickel/chromium heater element that allows for conductive heating of the sublimation crucibles, improving efficiency and heat distribution. The apparatus also includes a shutter system for sublimation crucibles that closes off the sublimation crucible and prevents the deposition material from escaping the sublimation pocket and contaminating the vacuum chamber when not in use.

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).

  • Evaporative deposition system for more efficient heating and deposition control
  • Innovative embedded heater element in the source crucible
  • Shutter system to separate sublimation pocket from rest of vacuum chamber
  • 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
Application 20120006809
Systems, apparatus and methods for in-line evaporative deposition are described herein that include a nickel chromium wire based heating system that can reach desired operating temperatures while providing opportunities for improved temperature uniformity and energy usage. In some embodiments, an apparatus includes a base member configured to be used as a sublimation crucible and the base member defines a channel in a surface of the base member. A first layer of electrically insulating material is disposed within the channel and has a substantially uniform thickness. A heater coil is disposed within the channel such that the first layer of electrically insulating material is disposed between the heater coil and the surface of the base. A second layer of electrically insulating material is disposed on the heater coil such that the heater coil is disposed between the first layer of electrically insulating material and the second layer of electrically insulating material.
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated

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To: Jeremy Nelson<>