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Indium Nitride

Johnson Matthey, designer, manufacturer and distributer of highly reliable bulk and point-of-use hydrogen and nitrogen purifiers, recently shipped several palladium and getter purifiers that will enable further advancements in worldwide photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing.
“These latest shipments reaffirm our commitment to support the ongoing growth of the global electronics industry, particularly the rapidly expanding demand for PV applications. There is a great need for the best available technology to support this growth and Johnson Matthey wants to be the leading supplier of gas purification products," said Stuart Bestrom, Sales Manager for Johnson Matthey’s Gas Purification Technology (GPT) group.

Bestrom said palladium membrane technology is preferred by PV and semiconductor fabs for use with the compressed hydrogen supply common in Asia and particularly in China.

“Purification of compressed hydrogen is challenging because it has ppm (parts per million) levels of oxygen, hydrocarbon and nitrogen impurities that are difficult to remove using catalytic or getter purifiers.

Customers have reported premature breakthrough and shortened lifetimes with regenerable and heated getter purifiers and this maintenance means increased cost-ofownership," explained Bestrom.

“Our palladium purifiers remove these ppmlevel impurities (O2, H2O, CO, CO2, N2 and THC) without affecting lifetime, yet still provide outlet purity less than one ppb (parts per billion). That’s why our purifiers are the ideal solution for compressed hydrogen applications."

Bestrom reported that a major U.S.-based manufacturer of thin-film solar cells and modules has installed several PSH-40 JM hydrogen purifiers at its fab in Shenzen, China. They will be used to purify hydrogen used in amorphous silicon thin film manufacturing. Thin film solar panels are well suited for large-scale utility applications, including solar farms.

A major North American semiconductor company is using JM HP Series V-purge purifiers to support their diversification into indium nitride (InN) high-efficiency solar cells. Bestrom said a purifier is installed on each MOCVD reactor to provide high-purity hydrogen during the growth process. HP Series purifiers use palladium membrane technology to allow selective diffusion of hydrogen in a compact system with continuous monitoring of operating status.

Incorporating Johnson Matthey’s palladium membrane technology, the PSH Series hydrogen purifiers offer a cost-effective, single-system solution for hydrogen flow rates from 10 Nm3/hr to 60 Nm3/hr.

PSH Series purifiers also incorporate Johnson Matthey’s patented V-purge technology to ensure quick start-up and rapid removal of hydrogen during power failure and other alarm conditions.

The PSH Series purifiers accept inlet gases of 99.9% or better purity and employ a catalytic pre-purifier to protect against oxygen impurity spikes. Designed for installation in Class I, Division II environments, they are PLC-controlled with a color touch screen HMI interface and provide continuous monitoring of purged electrical bays to ensure safety compliance.

“The China PV market is projected to grow 30 percent annually for the next several years, so JM expects to see ongoing orders for PV applications. We are the market leader in China where we have installed a number of purifiers," said Sean Peng, Asian Sales Manager of Gas Purification for the GPT group, which handles JM’s GPT sales and service throughout China.

Yet another application for JM GPT hydrogen and nitrogen purifiers is in the production of silicon powder used to manufacture solar wafers.

A large Europe-based renewable energy company is using multiple HP Series VPurge hydrogen purifiers and PureGuard heated getter nitrogen purifiers to eliminate oxygen and nitrogen contamination during powder production. The requirements of this venture need extreme purity.

Bestrom went on to add, “The company requires ppt (parts per trillion) purity to prevent even the smallest contamination that can compromise wafer quality. This process was developed in research and development and then transferred to a higher-volume production line."
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