A British company, Plasma Quest, has been awarded a £680,000 (nearly US$1 million) grant from the UK Department of Trade and Industry to develop low-cost thin film poly-crystalline silicon.HOOK, Hampshire 2002-02-25 [SolarAccess.com] The UK Energy Minister, Brian Wilson says photovoltaics could generate a large proportion of the country’s electricity and create a huge technology market if the country’s roofs are re-tiled with silicon cells. The government sees it as a sector where the UK needs to work hard to catch up with developments in continental Europe, particularly Germany. Plasma Quest (PQL) consists of a small team of scientists and engineers working on a number of plasma based projects. PQL says that as a result of its speed of response to problem solving including previous government research contracts, a number of companies including large multinationals have requested PQL’s assistance to develop new products and processes in the use of high density plasmas for thin film coatings and associated applications. The company says it also has strong collaborative arrangements with leading academic centers of excellence. PQL’s says its patented high density plasma deposition system provides unparalleled control over the sputtering process, resulting in thin film coatings that give significantly enhanced characteristics and properties over conventional methods. It says its novel high density plasma-assisted sputtering system is an extremely cost effective upgrade as it can be readily retrofitted to many existing sputtering systems.