Umicore Thin Film Products, Liechtenstein

Umicore Thin Film Products AG, a globally active business unit within the Umicore Group, is one of the leading producers of coating materials for physical vapour deposition (sputtering targets and evaporation materials) with more than 50 years experience in this field.

Its product portfolio covers a wide range of highly effective sputtering targets and evaporation materials for the market segments Displays, Photovoltaics, Optics, Data Storage and Semiconductors. Most of the materials for the different product segments are manufactured at the production site in Balzers, which is also the R&D headquarter of the business unit. There are working around 110 employees in the Balzers facility (Umicore Materials AG), 14 of them are related to sputtering target development.

In the field of Photovoltaics our main focus is on Transparent Conductive Oxides (TCO’s) in form of planar and rotary sputtering targets. Our current main products are ITO (Indium Tin Oxide) and AZO (Aluminum doped Zinc Oxide) in different compositions and geometries. Umicore Thin Film Products is the leader in ITO tube targets. During the last two years we created a Material Competence Centre in Balzers. With the new installed technologies and equipment basis we are able to develop new material solutions in an efficient way - for example new TCO compositions in form of planar and rotary targets. The installed technologies are mainly related to powder metallurgy and ceramic processing. We have also a well equipped analytical department. A newly installed Laser Ablation ICP-MS analytical system will be an important tool for the development of new TCO’s.

Role of Umicore Thin Film Products in Silicon-Light

In the work program, Umicore will be the lead participant for Work Package 4 (TCO layers). Umicore will bring its expertise in TCO sputtering target development and in demonstrating manufacturability of industrial size sputtering targets in form of planars and tubes.

Publications Large Area Coatings / Umicore Thin Film Products, 2008-2011

P. Lippens, E. Medvedovski, A. Hellmich, C. Szepesi, K. Leitner and R. Linsbod: “Thin Film ITO Coatings obtained using Rotary Sputtering Targets”, Proc. 14th Int. Conf. on Thin Films (ICTF), pp. 52-55, 2008.

P. Lippens and C. Murez: “Rotary Ceramic ITO Sputtering Targets for Large Area TCO Coating Deposition: Cost Effective and Quality Boosting”, 52nd ANN. Techn. Conf. Proc. of the Society of Vacuum Coaters, pp. 390-395, 2009. 

P. Lippens and C. Murez: "Rotary ceramic targets for TCO sputter deposition in TF-PV manufacturing: a cost effective and qualitative solution”, Proc. 24th European Photo-Voltaic Solar Energy Conference (EU-PVSEC), pp. 2634-2637 (Sept. 2009, Hamburg, D). 

P. Lippens: “Herstellung von keramischen Targets“, Proc. Of the 2nd OTTI-Seminar on "Transparent leitfähige Schichten (TCO), pp. 119 (December 2009, Neu-Ulm, D). 

P. Lippens: "Rotary Ceramic Sintered ITO Targets for FPD Applications“, 32nd Working Group Meeting of the German Flat Panel Display Forum (VDMA-DFF), (Dec. 3, 2009, Plansee, A). 

P. Lippens, K. Leitner, N. Margadant, M. Kaitz, A. Broenstrup and S. Sutter: "Aluminum Doped Zinc Oxide Coatings Sputtered on Large Area with Rotary AZO Targets: New Insights to Improve Productivity and Coating Quality“, Proc. of the 53rd Ann. Techn. Conf. of the Society of Vacuum Coaters (SVC), pp. 290-295 (April 2010, Orlando, USA). Also published in the magazine ‘Intelligent Glass Solutions”, N°2/2010, pp 92-95. 

P. Lippens and M. Stolze: “Sintered Ceramic Rotary ITO and AZO Targets for Large Area Glass Coating – An Opportunity to Increase Productivity and Lower Cost”, Proc. of the 8th Int. Conf. on Coatings on Glass and Plastics (ICCG), pp. 39-43 (June 2010, Braunschweig, D). Will also be published in ‘Vakuum in Forschung und Praxis’, Wiley-VCH during 2011. 

P. Lippens, K. Leitner, S. Sutter, M. Stolze, M. Haldemann and F. Waibel: "Productivity improvements for ZnO based sputter deposited coatings used in thin film Si PV-products“, Proc. 25th European Photo-Voltaic Solar Energy Conference (EU-PVSEC), pp. 2885-2888 (Sept. 2010, Valencia, E). 

P. Lippens: “Sputtern von keramischen AZO-Rohrtargets: Was ist die beste Beschichtungstechnologie ?”, Proc. Of the 3rd OTTI-Seminar on "Transparent leitfähige Schichten (TCO), pp. 157-173 (November 2010, Neu-Ulm, D). 

P. Lippens and U. Muehlfeld: “Indium Tin Oxide: Sputter Deposition Processes”, chapter 5.4.1 in Handbook of Visual Display Technology, Springer Major Reference Work series, Canopus Academic Publishing (in preparation: will be issued in 2011).   

P. Lippens: “Thin Film Solar Cells”, Chapter 8.4.2. in Materials for a Better Life, in preparation (Umicore group publication).  

P. Lippens and M. Haldemann: “ITO revisited: a study of coating properties obtained with sintered ceramic rotary targets aiming at display applications”, Proc. of the 54th Ann. Techn. Conf. of the Society of Vacuum Coaters (SVC), pp. (April 2011, Chicago, USA) 

Paul Lippens and Mark Haldemann: “Colour Filter ITO Deposited with Rotary Sintered Ceramic ITO Targets”, Society of Information Display (SID), Display week 2011, Los Angeles, CA, USA, May 2011, P206. 

Paul Lippens, Mark Haldemann, Yves Van Rompaey and Klaus Leitner: “Economics of Depositing AZO-Front TCO Coatings with High Wall Thickness Rotary Sintered Ceramic Targets”, will be presented at the 26th European Photo-Voltaic Solar Energy Conference (EU-PVSEC), (Sept. 2011, Hamburg, D).