Bandgap Engineering Inc.’s nanotextured silicon solar cell has demonstrated a 0.3 percent efficiency boost over standard solar cells and is expected to be 1 percent more efficient when fully optimized. Made in collaboration with Georgia Institute of Technology, the Woburn, Mass., company’s nanotextured solar cells are a drop-in upgrade for crystalline-silicone manufacturers using standard processing technologies. Conventional processes were used in developing the cells. The new Center for Freeform Optics brings the University of Rochester and University of North Carolina at Charlotte together with industry partners to advance free-form optics research as a basis for innovation, demonstrate the innovation for state-of-the-art optical systems, and educate the next generation’s workforce. More than $4 million in federal, industry and academic funding aims to move the technology forward through the center. The emerging area could allow for a wider range of lens and mirror shapes. A broad range of applications for free-form optics has been identified, including mobile displays, LED lighting, remote sensing devices and astronomical instrumentation.