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IMEC Creates Efficient Solar Cell

EuroPhotonics
May 2008
LEUVEN, Belgium

Researchers at IMEC, a research centre for nanoelectronics and nanotechnology, have created a high-efficiency single-junction gallium-arsenide solar cell on a germanium substrate, which was provided by Umicore of Brussels.

GaAs2_press.jpg
Shown is a single-junction gallium- arsenide solar cell on a germanium substrate.


The cell, grown epitaxially on a substrate with an improved microdefect distribution, measures 0.25 cm2. The maximum conversion efficiency of 24.7 per cent was achieved with an open-circuit voltage of 999 mV, a short-circuit current of 29.7 mA/cm2 and a fill factor of 83.2 per cent. The efficiency was measured and confirmed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo., USA.

IMEC specializes in hybrid monolithic/mechanically stacked triple-junction solar cells consisting of top cells made of III-V materials and bottom cells made of germanium. The research centre is targeting a conversion efficiency of greater than 35 per cent. The solar cell stacks can be used in satellites and in Earth-based solar concentrators.


GLOSSARY
nanotechnology
The use of atoms, molecules and molecular-scale structures to enhance existing technology and develop new materials and devices. The goal of this technology is to manipulate atomic and molecular particles to create devices that are thousands of times smaller and faster than those of the current microtechnologies.
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