Nanowire on soda-lime glass technology for solar cells.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued a patent (US Pat. No. 8,491,718) for Solar-Tectic LLC’s “1c-Si NW” solar cell technology, titled “Methods of Growing Heteroepitaxial Single Crystal or Large Grained Semiconductor Films and Devices Thereon” which was filed by the late Dr. Praveen Chaudhari, winner of the 1995 US National Medal of Technology and Innovation. The patent is part of Solar-Tectic’s portfolio of “eutectic” technologies for photovoltaic and display applications, and involves the growth of single crystalline nanowires on non-crystalline substrates such as inexpensive soda-lime glass or metal tapes.
It is a breakthrough technology which promises greatly to reduce the cost of solar cells using eco-friendly silicon. A key part of this patent also includes a “switching” technique, which essentially involves moving from film growth to nanowire growth by lowering the growth temperature, thus creating more freedom to control the micro/nano structures of the growth to optimize the overall device structure, without breaking vacuum. Solar-Tectic LLC will now develop this technology and license it for industrial applications.
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