Projected growth in US-made solar panels and semiconductor chips leads to increased sales of k-Space metrology solutions Recent passage of both the CHIPS & Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act is driving an uptick in sales and opportunities for k-Space, the US-based maker of advanced metrology tools. Both solar panel companies and semiconductor chip makers use k-Space tools to monitor production, uncover potential defects, inspect finished products, and minimize returns.
The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory has been selected to lead an Energy Frontier Research Center, or EFRC, focused on polymer electrolytes for next-generation energy storage devices such as fuel cells and solid-state electric vehicle batteries. Announced recently by U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, the award will provide $11.5 million over four years to the new ORNL-led EFRC for Fast and Cooperative Ion Transport in Polymer-Based Electrolytes, or FaCT.
Solar panels, also known as photovoltaics, rely on semiconductor devices, or solar cells, to convert energy from the sun into electricity. To generate electricity, solar cells need an electric field to separate positive charges from negative charges. To get this field, manufacturers typically dope the solar cell with chemicals so that one layer of the device bears a positive charge and another layer a negative charge. This multilayered design ensures that electrons flow from the negative side of a device to the positive side – a key factor in device stability and performance. But chemical doping and layered synthesis also add extra costly steps in solar cell manufacturing.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers demonstrated that an electrochemical sensor paired with a transmitter not only detects propane leaks within seconds, but it can also send a signal to alert emergency services. Propane is an alternative refrigerant that has low global warming potential. However, because of its flammability risk, it is not widely used commercially in the United States. To mitigate concerns, researchers attached a transmitter to an off-the-shelf sensor and developed a computer program that monitors the signal, self-checking every few seconds.
Since 2000 Vacuum Technology & Coating Magazine has been the industry's leading source for the latest articles, news, and product and service information. Below we describe some of the terms that you will find in a typical issue of VT&C.
Vacuum Coating (Vacuum Deposition and Thin Film Deposition) is the process of depositing a film or other material atom by atom or molecule by molecule onto a surface in a low pressure environment or vacuum.
Physical Vapor Deposition or PVD refers to vacuum deposition methods which involve the material (which is being deposited) going from a condensed phase to a vapor phase and then to a thin film condensed phase. Sputtering and evaporation are common PVD processes.
Sputtering refers to a type of process used to deposit thin films and employs a plasma to bombard and eject atoms from a target source.
Evaporation refers to the heated source material being evaporated in a vacuum. Vacuum allows vapor particles to travel directly to the target object, where they condense back to a solid state. (called a Deposition Source) refers to a type of process used to deposit thin films and employs a plasma to bombard and eject atoms from the target source (called a Deposition Source).
Vacuum Hardware refers to the types of hardware and components that are used in the vacuum process. There are many types of hardware used in this process, some examples are flanges, fittings, seals, valves, and chambers.
Thin Film Metrology involves determining the optimal thickness, composition and/or condition of a coating through various techniques and mathematical calculations.
Gas Analytical Systems are used in the analysis of residual gases within a low pressure environment or vacuum.
Vacuum Pumps are devices that remove gas atoms and molecules for the purpose of leaving behind a partial vacuum. Some examples of types of vacuum pumps are rotary vane pumps, diaphragm pumps, and scroll pumps.
Every issue of VT&C includes a product showcase focused on a specific topic relevant to Vacuum Processing, please see our editorial calendar which lists the topic for each issue.