Patents Assigned to Stion Corporation
  • Patent number: 9196779
    Abstract: A method of fabricating a thin film photovoltaic device is provided. The method subjects a soda lime glass substrate having a front side, backside, and edges to a first cleaning process and forms a first coating of silicon dioxide overlying the backside and the edges. The method further subjects the substrate to a second cleaning process and forms a second coating of silicon dioxide overlying the front side and the edges of the substrate. Furthermore, the method includes causing a barrier layer comprising the first coating and the second coating to encapsulate entirely the front side, backside, and edges. The barrier layer includes at least a thickness of oxygen rich silicon dioxide to contain any sodium bearing material within the substrate. Moreover, the method includes forming a thickness of metal material overlying the second coating on the front side followed by an absorber material and window material plus a top electrode.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 19, 2012
    Date of Patent: November 24, 2015
    Assignee: Stion Corporation
    Inventors: James H. Whittemore, IV, Laila Dounas, Chester A. Farris, III, Robert D. Wieting
  • Patent number: 9105776
    Abstract: A photovoltaic device and related methods. The device has a nanostructured material positioned between an electron collecting electrode and a hole collecting electrode. An electron transporting/hole blocking material is positioned between the electron collecting electrode and the nanostructured material. In a specific embodiment, negatively charged carriers generated by optical absorption by the nanostructured material are preferentially separated into the electron transporting/hole blocking material. In a specific embodiment, the nanostructured material has an optical absorption coefficient of at least 103 cm?1 for light comprised of wavelengths within the range of about 400 nm to about 700 nm.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 14, 2007
    Date of Patent: August 11, 2015
    Assignee: Stion Corporation
    Inventor: Howard W. H. Lee
  • Patent number: 9096930
    Abstract: An apparatus for fabricating thin film photovoltaic devices includes a deposition chamber for loading a pair of substrates. Two heater platens in a side-by-side configuration with a middle gap form intimate contact with the pair of substrates. Each heater platen has a second width and a second length respectively made smaller than the first width and the first length to allow the substrate to fully cover the heater platen for preventing formation of edge lip due to coating buildup in a peripheral edge region. The apparatus further includes a shield structure which covers both the middle gap and all outer peripheral side regions of the side-by-side configuration of the two heater platens for preventing coating buildup and guiding a downstream flow.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 18, 2011
    Date of Patent: August 4, 2015
    Assignee: Stion Corporation
    Inventors: Kenneth B. Doering, Robert D. Wieting
  • Patent number: 9087943
    Abstract: A method for forming a thin film photovoltaic device includes providing a transparent substrate comprising a surface region and forming a first electrode layer overlying the surface region. Additionally, the method includes forming a copper indium material comprising an atomic ratio of Cu:In ranging from about 1.35:1 to about 1.60:1 by at least sputtering a target comprising an indium copper material. The method further includes subjecting the copper indium material to thermal treatment process in an environment containing a sulfur bearing species. Furthermore, the method includes forming a copper indium disulfide material from at least the thermal treatment process of the copper indium material and maintaining an interface region between the copper indium disulfide material and electrode substantially free from a metal disulfide layer, which has different semiconductor characteristics from the copper indium disulfide material.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 5, 2009
    Date of Patent: July 21, 2015
    Assignee: Stion Corporation
    Inventor: Howard W. H. Lee
  • Patent number: 9087955
    Abstract: A method for processing a thin film photovoltaic module. The method includes providing a plurality of substrates, each of the substrates having a first electrode layer and an overlying absorber layer composed of copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS)or copper indium selenide (CIS) material. The absorber material comprises a plurality of sodium bearing species. The method maintains the plurality of substrates in a controlled environment after formation of at least the absorber layer through one or more processes up to a lamination process. The controlled environment has a relative humidity of less than 10% and a temperature ranging from about 10 degrees Celsius to about 40 degrees Celsius. The method subjects the plurality of substrates to a liquid comprising water at a temperature from about 10 degrees Celsius to about 80 degrees Celsius to process the plurality of substrates after formation of the absorber layer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 18, 2014
    Date of Patent: July 21, 2015
    Assignee: Stion Corporation
    Inventor: Robert D. Wieting
  • Patent number: 9084969
    Abstract: A system for recycling a work gas used in a thermal reactor for treating sample materials includes a thermal reactor using a work gas from a first source mixed with carrier gases. The work gas has a boiling point higher than the carrier gases. The system includes a pump, a condenser which converts the work gas into a liquid, and a scrubber.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 20, 2014
    Date of Patent: July 21, 2015
    Assignee: Stion Corporation
    Inventor: Robert D. Wieting
  • Patent number: 9068764
    Abstract: An apparatus for mounting a frameless solar module includes a top member made by a solid material including two contact pads and a bottom member made by a rubber material including two upward rounded end bumps. The top member and the bottom member are operably fixed by a screw set in a symmetric mounting configuration. The contact pad is also made from the rubber material for pressing onto a top cover glass panel near an edge region. The upward rounded end bump is for supporting a portion of a bottom substrate glass panel at a first offset distance away from the top cover glass panel and a horizontal offset distance away from the edge region. The first offset distance is adjusted to a thickness of the frameless solar module and the second distance is predetermined for providing adequate support of the frameless solar module to allow uninhibited flexion under load.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 6, 2013
    Date of Patent: June 30, 2015
    Assignee: Stion Corporation
    Inventors: Joshua Alexander Moore, Todd G. Brehmer, Robert D. Wieting
  • Patent number: 9059370
    Abstract: A method for fabricating a thin film photovoltaic device. The method includes providing a substrate comprising an absorber layer and an overlying window layer. The substrate is loaded into a chamber and subjected to a vacuum environment. The vacuum environment is at a pressure ranging from 0.1 Torr to about 0.02 Torr. In a specific embodiment, a mixture of reactant species derived from diethylzinc species, water species and a carrier gas is introduced into the chamber. The method further introduces a diborane species using a selected flow rate into the mixture of reactant species. A zinc oxide film is formed overlying the window layer to define a transparent conductive oxide using the selected flow rate to provide a resistivity of about 2.5 milliohm-cm and less and an average grain size of about 3000 to 5000 Angstroms.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 12, 2013
    Date of Patent: June 16, 2015
    Assignee: Stion Corporation
    Inventor: Robert D. Wieting
  • Patent number: 8998606
    Abstract: An apparatus for uniform reactive thermal treatment of thin-film materials includes a chamber enclosing a tube shaped space filled with a work gas and heaters disposed outside the chamber. The apparatus further includes a loading configuration for subjecting a plurality of planar substrates to the work gas in the tube shaped space. Baffles are disposed above and below the loading configuration.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 4, 2012
    Date of Patent: April 7, 2015
    Assignee: Stion Corporation
    Inventors: Paul Alexander, Steven Aragon
  • Patent number: 8941132
    Abstract: A method for manufacture of application specific solar cells includes providing and processing custom design information to determine at least a cell size and a cell shape. The method includes providing a transparent substrate having a back surface region, a front surface region, and one or more grid-line regions overlying the front side surface region. The one or more grid regions provide one or more unit cells having the cell size and the cell shape. The method further includes forming a layered structure including photovoltaic materials overlying the front surface region.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 1, 2010
    Date of Patent: January 27, 2015
    Assignee: Stion Corporation
    Inventors: Chester A. Farris, III, Albert S. Brown
  • Patent number: 8907206
    Abstract: A photovoltaic cell structure for manufacturing a photovoltaic device. The photovoltaic cell structure includes a substrate including a surface region. A first conductor layer overlies the surface region. The photovoltaic cell structure includes a lower cell structure. The lower cell structure includes a first P type absorber layer using a first semiconductor metal chalcogenide material and/or other semiconductor material overlying the first conductor layer. The first P type absorber material is characterized by a first bandgap ranging from about 0.5 eV to about 1.0 eV, a first optical absorption coefficient greater than about 104 cm?1. The lower cell structure includes a first N+ type window layer comprising at least a second metal chalcogenide material and/or other semiconductor material overlying the first P absorber layer. The photovoltaic cell structure includes an upper cell structure.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 24, 2011
    Date of Patent: December 9, 2014
    Assignee: Stion Corporation
    Inventor: Howard W. H. Lee
  • Patent number: 8906732
    Abstract: A method for fabricating a thin film photovoltaic device is provided. The method includes providing a substrate comprising a surface region made of a thin-film photovoltaic absorber including copper, indium, gallium, selenium, and sulfur species. Additionally, the method includes applying a dip-in chemical bath deposition process for forming a buffer layer containing at least zinc-ogygen-sulfide material but substantially free of cadmium species. Furthermore, the method includes producing a chemical bath including steps of heating a bath of water to about 75° C., adding aqueous ammonia to mix with the bath of water, adding a solution of sodium hydroxide, adding zinc salt solution, and adding a solution of thiourea. The dip-in chemical bath deposition process includes immersing a plurality of substrates formed with the thin-film photovoltaic absorber substantially vertically in the chemical bath for 30 minutes to form the zinc-oxygen-sulfide buffer layer followed by a cleaning and drying process.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 14, 2014
    Date of Patent: December 9, 2014
    Assignee: Stion Corporation
    Inventors: Robert D. Wieting, Jason Todd Jackson
  • Patent number: 8889468
    Abstract: A tandem photovoltaic cell. The tandem photovoltaic cell includes a bifacial top cell and a bottom cell. The top bifacial cell includes a top first transparent conductive oxide material. A top window material underlies the top first transparent conductive oxide material. A first interface region is disposed between the top window material and the top first transparent conductive oxide material. The first interface region is substantially free from one or more entities from the top first transparent conductive oxide material diffused into the top window material. A top absorber material comprising a copper species, an indium species, and a sulfur species underlies the top window material. A top second transparent conductive oxide material underlies the top absorber material. A second interface region is disposed between the top second transparent conductive oxide material and the top absorber material. The bottom cell includes a bottom first transparent conductive oxide material.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 18, 2011
    Date of Patent: November 18, 2014
    Assignee: Stion Corporation
    Inventor: Howard W. H. Lee
  • Patent number: 8889465
    Abstract: A method of processing a thin-film absorber material with enhanced photovoltaic efficiency. The method includes providing a soda-lime glass substrate having a surface region and forming a barrier material overlying the surface region, followed by formation of a stack structure including a first thickness of a first precursor, a second thickness of a second precursor, and a third thickness of a third precursor. The first thickness of the first precursor is sputtered with a first target device including a first mixture of copper, gallium, and a first sodium species. The method further includes subjecting the soda-lime glass substrate having the stack structure in a thermal treatment process with at least H2Se gas species at a temperature above 400° C. to cause formation of an absorber material. Moreover, the method includes transferring a second sodium species from a portion of the soda-lime glass substrate via gas-phase diffusion during the thermal treatment process.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 5, 2013
    Date of Patent: November 18, 2014
    Assignee: Stion Corporation
    Inventor: Robert D. Wieting
  • Patent number: 8871305
    Abstract: A method of forming composite nanostructures using one or more nanomaterials. The method provides a nanostructure material having a surface region and one or more nano void regions within a first thickness in the surface region. The method subjects the surface region of the nanostructure material with a fluid. An external energy is applied to the fluid and/or the nanostructure material to drive in a portion of the fluid into one or more of the void regions and cause the one or more nano void regions to be substantially filled with the fluid and free from air gaps.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 1, 2011
    Date of Patent: October 28, 2014
    Assignee: Stion Corporation
    Inventor: Howard W. H. Lee
  • Publication number: 20140308774
    Abstract: A method for fabricating a thin film photovoltaic device is provided. The method includes providing a substrate comprising a surface region made of a thin-film photovoltaic absorber including copper, indium, gallium, selenium, and sulfur species. Additionally, the method includes applying a dip-in chemical bath deposition process for forming a buffer layer containing at least zinc-oxygen-sulfide material but substantially free of cadmium species. Furthermore, the method includes producing a chemical bath including steps of heating a bath of water to about 75° C., adding aqueous ammonia to mix with the bath of water, adding a solution of sodium hydroxide, adding zinc salt solution, and adding a solution of thiourea. The dip-in chemical bath deposition process includes immersing a plurality of substrates formed with the thin-film photovoltaic absorber substantially vertically in the chemical bath for 30 minutes to form the zinc-oxygen-sulfide buffer layer followed by a cleaning and drying process.
    Type: Application
    Filed: January 14, 2014
    Publication date: October 16, 2014
    Applicant: Stion Corporation
    Inventors: Robert D. Wieting, Jason Todd Jackson
  • Patent number: 8859880
    Abstract: A method for integrating photovoltaic module includes providing a cover plate having a first surface and a second surface opposed to the first surface and supplying photovoltaic devices respectively formed on substrates. The photovoltaic devices include photovoltaic cells electrically coupled to each other, and each cell is characterized by a thin-film photovoltaic layer sandwiched between a first electrode material and a second electrode material. The first electrode material overlies the substrate and the second electrode material overlies the thin-film photovoltaic layer. The method further includes disposing the solar devices side by side to laminate with the cover plate by means of a first organic material filled between the second electrode material and the second surface. Each of the solar devices has a peripheral edge region being sealed by a second organic material. The method further includes electrically coupling the solar devices to each other.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 14, 2011
    Date of Patent: October 14, 2014
    Assignee: Stion Corporation
    Inventor: Robert D. Wieting
  • Publication number: 20140287551
    Abstract: A method for fabricating a thin film solar cell includes providing a soda lime glass substrate comprising a surface region, treating the surface region with one or more cleaning process including an aqueous solution to remove one or more contaminants and/or particulates, and forming a lower electrode layer overlying the surface region. The method also includes performing a thermal treatment process to remove any residual water species to substantially less than a monolayer of water species from the lower electrode layer and soda lime glass substrate. The thermal treatment process changes a temperature of the soda lime glass substrate from a first temperature to a second temperature to pre-heat the soda lime glass substrate. Additionally, the method includes transferring the soda lime glass substrate, which has been preheated, to a deposition chamber and forming a layer of photovoltaic material overlying the lower electrode layer within the deposition chamber.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 3, 2014
    Publication date: September 25, 2014
    Applicant: Stion Corporation
    Inventor: Robert D. Wieting
  • Patent number: 8821964
    Abstract: A method for forming a semiconductor bearing thin film material. The method includes providing a metal precursor and a chalcogene precursor. The method forms a mixture of material comprising the metal precursor, the chalcogene precursor and a solvent material. The mixture of material is deposited overlying a surface region of a substrate member. In a specific embodiment, the method maintains the substrate member including the mixture of material in an inert environment and subjects the mixture of material to a first thermal process to cause a reaction between the metal precursor and the chalcogene material to form a semiconductor metal chalcogenide bearing material overlying the substrate member. The method then performs a second thermal process to remove any residual solvent and forms a substantially pure semiconductor metal chalcogenide thin film material overlying the substrate member.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 11, 2012
    Date of Patent: September 2, 2014
    Assignee: Stion Corporation
    Inventors: Jinman Huang, Howard W. H. Lee
  • Patent number: D736595
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 10, 2013
    Date of Patent: August 18, 2015
    Assignee: Stion Corporation
    Inventors: Joshua Alexander Moore, Todd G. Brehmer, Robert G. Wieting