Photovoltaics

Photovoltaics

  • One of the 3D CNT based photovoltaic cells
  • Georgia Tech Research Team (Left to Right) Stephan Turano, Hunter Chan, Jud Ready, Kavin Manickaraj
  • Hunter Chan wire bonding photovoltaic cells
  • Wire bonding photovoltaic cells
  • Hunter Chan wire bonding photovoltaic cells
  • Stephan Turano showing one of the SEM images of a CNT array used for the photovoltaic cells

A novel 3D photovoltaic (PV) cell architecture was developed by Ready in 2004.  The technology utilizes an additive topography to allow for light-trapping (texturing) of thin film photovoltaics. The subsequent patent (US 8,350,146) has been licensed to Bloo Solar for commercial production.  The architecture is amenable to texturing many different thin-film photoabsorbers:  CdTe, a-Si, CIGS, CZTS, etc.  It is particularly useful for space-based applications, due to the light trapping morphology that eliminates the need for bulky, complex and failure-prone solar tracking arrays on spacecraft.  To demonstrate the utility of this technology in space, several examples of these carbon nanotube-based 3D PV cells will be placed on the exterior of the International Space Station.  Currently, launch is planned for July 18 (12:45A EDT) with deployment to the exterior of the station scheduled for August 2016.