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Photovoltaics that fit

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 6:17am

2012 R&D 100 Winner
EN372_Sandia_MEPVPicture a solar cell and chances are good it will look like a flat panel. The demand for photovoltaics that can conform to a certain size, shape, or structure, however, is increasing. Microsystems Enabled Photovoltaics (MEPV) from Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, N.M., represent a move toward miniaturized crystalline silicon and crystalline gallium-arsenide (GaAs) solar cells that can fit within the intricate shapes and contours of various objects.

To fabricate these cells, Sandia's MEPV team has combined microfabrication techniques from several microsystem technologies. The process flow uses standard equipment and standard wafer thicknesses and allows all high-temperature processing to be performed prior to cell release. This means that both silicon and GaAs cells are backside contacted, which enables the fabrication of uniform, aesthetically pleasing front sides without electrical lines. In addition, the remaining post-release wafer can be reprocessed and reused, resulting in a substantial increase in the number of watts generated per gram of semiconductor material.

With dimensions as small as 100-μm wide and 1-μm thick, these PV building blocks can be installed in flexible, moldable, or flat-plate formats in sizes that conform to the shapes and contours of natural terrain, large structures, vehicles, and mobile electronics.

Technology
Photovoltaic cells

Developers
Sandia National Laboratories


Development Team

EN372_Sandia_MEPV_Team
(Top row, l-r): Anna Tauke-Pedretti, Ben Anderson, Bill Sweatt, Bob Biefeld, Bongsang Kim (Second row): Bradley Jared, Carlos Sanchez, Craig Carmignani, Dan Koleske, Gerry Girard, Greg Nielson (Third row): Igal Brener, Jeff Cederberg, Jeff Koplow, Jeff Nelson (Fourth row): Jennifer Granata, Jonathan Wierer, Jose Luis Cruz-Campa, Judi Lavin (Fifth row): Kira Fishgrab, Mike Haney, Murat Okandan, Paul Resnick, Peggy Clews, Scott Paap (Bottom row): Tammy Pluym, Tian Gu, Tony Lentine, Vipin Gupta, Willie Luk

 

 

 















The Microsystems Enabled Photovoltaics (MEPV) Development Team from Sandia National Laboratories
Gregory N. Nielson, Principal Developer
Jose Luis Cruz-Campa
Vipin Gupta
Jeff Nelson
Murat Okandan
Bill Sweatt
Ben Anderson
Bob Biefeld
Igal Brener
Craig Carmignani
Jeff Cederberg
Peggy Clews
Kira Fishgrab
Gerry Girard
Jennifer Granata
Tian Gu
Mike Haney
Bradley Jared
Bongsang Kim
Dan Koleske
Jeff Koplow
Judi Lavin
Tony Lentine
Willie Luk
Scott Paap
Tammy Pluym
Paul Resnick
Carlos Sanchez
Anna Tauke-Pedretti
Jonathan Wierer

Award Year

2012

Organization

Sandia National Laboratories (U.S. Dept. of Energy)

Developers

Gregory Nielson (Primary)
Ben Anderson (Primary)
Bob Biefeld (Primary)
Igal Brener (Primary)
Craig Carmignani (Primary)
Jeff Cederberg (Primary)
Peggy Clews (Primary)
Jose Cruz-Campa (Primary)
Kira Fishgrab (Primary)
Gerry Girard (Primary)
Jennifer Granata (Primary)
Tian Gu (Primary)
Vipin Gupta (Primary)
Mike Haney (Primary)
Bradley Jared (Primary)
Bongsang Kim (Primary)
Dan Koleske (Primary)
Jeff Koplow (Primary)
Judi Lavin (Primary)
Tony Lentine (Primary)
Willie Luk (Primary)
Jeffery Nelson (Primary)
Murat Okandan (Primary)
Scott Paap (Primary)
Tammy Pluym (Primary)
Paul Resnick (Primary)
Carlos Sanchez (Primary)
William Sweatt (Primary)
Anna Tauke-Pedretti (Primary)
Jonathan Wierer (Primary)
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