SICELLAB (ITER’s Silicon Cell Laboratory) has completed the installation and commissioning of a Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (PECVD) device. With this equipment, the laboratory completes its capabilities for manufacturing solar cell prototypes, based on crystal silicon technologies, as well as to use this kind of technique in order to produce new materials.

The model now in operation in the laboratory is a Vision 310 Mk II PECVD, a state of the art device made by the Swedish company Advanced Vacuum, which was engineered for research level and pilot production through an innovative and flexible plasma reactor, capable of using a wide variety of chemistries. Provided with an open load process chamber, which makes use of a pneumatically controlled hoist mechanism for the opening and closing actions, the vacuum conditions are achieved by a pump package made of a rotary vane and a mechanical booster pump.

Due to the dangerous nature of some of the chemicals used in this kind of deposition techniques, the correct employ of a PECVD requires sophisticated auxiliary equipment, which prevents accidental contact with such agents. This was achieved by the installation of gas flow control (which includes a gas cabinet for the silane mix), toxic, oxygen and Ex hazards detection, as well as byproduct waste abatement systems.

The photovoltaic laboratory of ITER has been co-financed by the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade through the National Program of Applied Research 2008 and by the Ministry of Economy and Competiveness through the Calls INNPLANTA 2011 and INNPLANTA 2012 for the acquisition of scientific-technical equipment for R+D and results transfers activities in the entities located in Scientific and Technological Parks.

The laboratory has a total area of 390 m2 and is located in one of the warehouses with grid connected photovoltaic roof plant installed in ITER’s terrains, reaching a total of 2MW.