High-Throughput Experimental Platform "BERTHA"

BERTHA is a semi-autonomous experimental platform for synthesising thin films of optoelectronic materials, currently under construction (as of May 2023). Completion is expected by September 2023.

Material types: inorganic chalogenides, i.e. compounds of several metal elements with sulfur. Examples include wide band gap solar cell materials like BaZrS3 and Cu2ZnSnS4. BERTHA is especially suited for handling electropositive elements - like Ca, Ba, Zr and Ti, found in many novel optoelectronic materials - which present big challenges for traditional physical-vapour or solution-based deposition methods. This allows us to tackle materials which many other labs cannot. 

Process: thin film samples are produced by co-sputtering of the metallic elements in a 6-magnetron sputter chamber (A), followed by rapid heating in an adjoining furnace (C), to add sulfur from gas phase and crystallise the target material. The samples are transferred between these chambers via a glovebox (B) to avoid oxidation of the metal elements. After  formation is complete, the materials are highly stable and can be unloaded. 

Key features:

  • Glovebox transfer chamber allows handling of air-sensitive metals
  • Very wide range of process pressures and temperatures allows complete phase diagrams to be explored
  • In-situ evaluation of sample composition by combination of quartz-crystal monitors and process modelling
  • Rapid sample turnover allows high throughput exploration experiments
  • Experimental process goverend by digitalised workflow management system  

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Materials candidates

BERTHA is a very flexible synthesis system, and we are always on the lookout for new materials to explore. For any questions about the equipment, or to discuss possible target materials, just contact Jonathan Scragg

Last modified: 2023-05-10