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  • Solar3D to Develop 3-D Solar Cell
Jan 2011
SANTA BARBARA, Calif., Jan. 20, 2011 — Solar3D Inc., a developer of 3-D solar cell technology that maximizes the conversion of sunlight into electricity, has announced details of its plan for the development of its solar cell.

“By combining microphotovoltaics with advanced light-management technology and production engineering into a novel three-dimensional solar cell, we believe that affordable access to the power of the sun will be a reality,” said Jim Nelson, CEO. “We are ahead of the original schedule that we set for ourselves, in terms of timing and expected output.”

Inspired by light-management techniques used in fiber optic devices, the company’s technology uses a 3-D design to trap sunlight inside microphotovoltaic structures where photons bounce around until they are converted into electrons. The company believes that this breakthrough solar cell will dramatically change the economics of solar energy.

Nelson said that Solar3D plans to have a working prototype by the end of the year. He said key milestones have been set to guide the efforts of the development team, including the design of the light-trapping element of the solar cell; determination of its expected efficiency; design of the 3-D microphotovoltaic structure of the cell; and fabrication of the prototype.

“It is exciting to see scientific theory become a reality,” he said. “We are re-engineering the solar cell from scratch to make a next generation product that is much more efficient than existing technology. But equally important is that we are creating a design that will be compatible with existing fabrication processes and mass-production facilities. Hence, we will get a compounded impact on lowering the cost per watt of solar photovoltaics.

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solar cell
A device for converting sunlight into electrical energy, consisting of a sandwich of P-type and N-type semiconducting wafers. A photon with sufficient energy striking the cell can dislodge an electron from an atom near the interface of the two crystal types. Electrons released in this way, collected at an electrode, can constitute an electrical current.
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