Edwards, a global supplier of vacuum and abatement equipment and services, has introduced a patented hot trap designed to thermally decompose the liquid diethyl zinc (DEZ) used in depositing some transparent conductive oxide (TCO) films in thin-film solar manufacturing.
If unreacted DEZ enters the vacuum pumps during the deposition process, it decomposes, coating pump surfaces and significantly degrading pump operating lifetimes, according to the company. Edwards says its new hot trap significantly extends maintenance cycles and offers the lowest cost of ownership solution for this problem.
Gases leaving the process chamber pass through the Edwards hot trap before entering the vacuum pump. The gases flow through the trap's replaceable cartridges, which are heated to a temperature that optimizes DEZ decomposition. The trap incorporates a carefully designed gas path that provides sufficient time for decomposition without restricting flow, Edwards adds.