March 14, 2012 – Marketwire — Twin Creeks Technologies, semiconductor and solar cell manufacturing equipment supplier, debuted its first commercial wafer production system that reduces solar module and semiconductor device wafers by up to 90%.
The tool uses proton induced exfoliation (PIE) to generate monocrystalline wafers that are less than 1/10th the thickness of conventional wafers. This eliminates excess silicon material below the active substrate, using atoms as a scalpel to cleave wafers. Hyperion embeds a uniform layer of high-energy protons, which are hydrogen ions, into monocrystalline wafers to a depth of up to 20um. When heated, this new layer expands, cleaving the top surface from the donor wafer to form an ultra-thin wafer that is otherwise identical to the original. The ultra-thin wafer is then further processed into solar modules or semiconductors. Creating wafers with PIE eliminates the kerf, or wasted silicon from mechanical slicing.
Hyperion is compatible with various monocrystalline wafers, including germanium, gallium nitride (GaN), sapphire and silicon carbide (SiC) for power electronics and light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
Initial applications have focused on crystalline silicon solar cells, with the process expertise gained from these installations being used for new applications, such as CMOS sensors. Hyperion notes that cost reductions are achieved from reducing the silicon used, as well as eliminating wafer saws, furnaces, and crystal pullers.
Hyperion wafers are thin enough to be bendable, opening opportunities in flexible electronics and solar modules.
Twin Creeks’ intellectual property for creating and handling ultra-thin wafers as well as producing finished solar cells can be licensed to Twin Creeks customers. The company, in collaboration with the state of Mississippi, has built a commercial demonstration plant in Senatobia, Mississippi where Twin Creeks and its customers can fine-tune processes for generating ultra-thin solar modules and wafers with Hyperion.
Twin Creeks Technologies provides manufacturing equipment for thin crystalline wafers for the solar and semiconductor industries. Learn more at www.twincreekstechnologies.com.