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Solaytec looking to spread its wings with spinoff SALD

Paul van Gerven
Leestijd: 3 minuten

Almost ousted from the solar market by Chinese competition, atomic-layer-deposition tool manufacturer Solaytec is optimistic it can tap new applications for its technology. It’s starting sister company SALD to do just that.

Solar alone isn’t a viable market anymore for Solaytec. That’s the cold hard truth, explains Frank Verhage of the Eindhoven-based enterprise. Alarmed by slowing demand, then-parent company of Solaytec, Amtech, hired him in October 2018 to investigate whether the Dutch subsidiary could survive. Verhage’s answer: not without looking at new applications.

Solaytec was spun off from research institute TNO a decade ago to commercialize in-house developed spatial atomic layer deposition (SALD) technology for the solar market. ALD, in general, involves sequentially exposing a substrate to different gases, which react with the surface in a self-limiting fashion, thus ‘coating’ it literally atomic layer by atomic layer. The difference between SALD and traditional ALD is that in SALD, the substrate moves past the gases, while in temporal ALD, it’s stationary while a reactor is repetitively filled and emptied. The continuous character should make SALD the superior technique for industrial applications.

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