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Silicon ink boosts solar efficiency

Sun, 08/14/2011 - 8:00pm

2011 R&D 100 Winner
NREL Innovalight CellsIn the highly competitive world of solar cell production, efficiency improvements are generally measured by tenths of a percentage point and production processes are highly refined. Incremental improvements to efficiency are highly sought, but not if they disrupt the fabrication process.

With Innovalight Silicon Ink for High-Efficiency Solar Cells scientists at Innovalight Inc., Sunnyvale, Calif., and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colo., have invented a liquid form of silicon that can be added to solar cells as a low-cost upgrade to the production line. The ink improves the sunlight-to-electricity conversion efficiency of monocrystalline solar cells by 1% or more absolute, which equates to a 6% improvement based on a starting cell efficiency of 16%.

The silicon ink and process is a selective emitter technology, which improves spectral response. The ink itself is made from 5-nm crystalline silicon particles dispersed in solvent chemistries. Functional groups attach to the nanoparticles in solution, protecting them from oxidation until they are evaporated from the printed layer at low temperatures, leaving a high-purity silicon film. The method is conducive to the use of doping atoms as well. The low cost of addition the technology solution could generate additional output for cell manufacturers.

Technology
Silicon ink for solar cells

Developers
Innovalight Inc.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory


The Innovalight Silicon Ink for High-Efficiency Solar Cells Development Team
Homer Antoniadis, Principal Developer, Innovalight Inc.
Richard Mitchell, Principal Developer, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Malcolm Abbott, Innovalight Inc.
Mowafak Al-Jassim, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Kirstin Alberi, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Michael Burrows, Innovalight Inc.
Paul Ciszek, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Nick Cravalho, Innovalight Inc.
Keith Emery, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Steve Johnston, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Kim Jones, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Maxim Kelman, Innovalight Inc.
Hyungrak Kim, Innovalight Inc.
Francesco Lemmi, Innovalight Inc.
Andreas Meisel, Innovalight Inc.
Raymond Meng, Innovalight Inc.
Vishal Mehta, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Helio Moutinho, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Dmitry Poplavskyy, Innovalight Inc.
Bob Reedy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Elena Rogojina, Innovalight Inc.
Manuel Romero, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Peter Rupnowski, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Guiseppe Scardera, Innovalight Inc.
Martha Symko-Davies, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Elizabeth Tai, Innovalight Inc.
Mason Terry, Innovalight Inc.
Karel Vanheusden, Innovalight Inc. Yanfa Yan, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
David Young, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Award Year

2011

Organization

Innovalight Inc.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (U.S. Dept. of Energy)

Developers

Malcolm Abbott (Primary)
Homer Antoniadis (Primary)
Michael Burrows (Primary)
Nick Cravalho (Primary)
Maxim Kelman (Primary)
Hyungrak Kim (Primary)
Francesco Lemmi (Primary)
Andreas Meisel (Primary)
Raymond Meng (Primary)
Dmitry Poplavskyy (Primary)
Elena Rogojina (Primary)
Giuseppe Scardera (Primary)
Elizabeth Tai (Primary)
Mason Terry (Primary)
Karel Vanheusden (Primary)
Kirstin Alberi (Primary)
Mowafak Al-Jassim (Primary)
Paul Ciszek (Primary)
Keith Emery (Primary)
Steve Johnston (Primary)
Kim Jones (Primary)
Vishal Mehta (Primary)
Richard Mitchell (Primary)
Helio Moutinho (Primary)
Bob Reedy (Primary)
Manuel Romero (Primary)
Peter Rupnowski (Primary)
Martha Symko-Davies (Primary)
Yanfa Yan (Primary)
David Young (Primary)
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