Solar Technologies & Applications

Solar Technologies & Applications (STA) is engaged in thin-film deposition processes, an enabling technology for many large-surface electronics applications, such as thin film solar cells, (O)LED lighting and (O)LED displays.

STA's mission is to develop innovative scalable deposition technology for the production of large area applications. At the moment the focus is mainly on the production of thin-film solar cell production equipment and processes.

STA is an important co-founder of Holst Centre (2005) and Solliance Solar Research (2010, a partnership between IMEC, TU/e and TNO). Within Solliance Solar Research, STA is responsible for the development of CIGS-based solar cells (CIGS is a crystal structure made of copper, indium, gallium and selenium). TNO has a reference R&D CIGS production line for this purpose. STA, together with its industrial partners, develops materials, processes and new generation production equipment for better and cheaper CIGS solar cells.

Our expertise

STA is working on the process development of the following technologies, which are used for innovative steps in the CIGS production process:

  • Spatial Atomic Layer Deposition (sALD): a technology applied in the deposition of a cadmium-free buffer layer, transparent conductive layer (TCO) and a barrier layer, among others
  • Atmospheric pressure (plasma enhanced) chemical vapour deposition (AP(PE)-CVD): used in TCO deposition
  • Wet-chemical deposition of the buffer layer
  • Inkjet printing for applying a conductive grid
  • Laser technology for insulating and connecting different conductive layers
  • Selenisation: activation of the CIGS layer
  • Light management: TCO and nanostructuring.

The combination of the above areas of expertise enables STA to develop industrial-scale solutions suitable for equipment and processes for thin-film solar cells and displays.


ENVISION: Energy harVesting by Invisible Solar IntegratiON in building skins

25 October 2018
To achieve the European goal of an energy-neutral built environment in 2050, harvesting of solar energy from all surfaces of buildings should be maximized. TNO coordinates the EU project ENVISION, which... Read more


André Schilt MSc

  • Thin film
  • solar
  • plasma technology


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