11 January 2012
Solar3D, Inc., developer of a 3-dimensional (3D) solar cell technology to maximise the conversion of sunlight into electricity, today announced a design breakthrough that is expected to substantially reduce the mass production cost of its highly efficient 3D solar cell.
According to Jim Nelson, president and chief executive officer of Solar3D, the original 3D cell was designed with two stages where light-collecting elements made from glass or polymer are coupled with 3D light-trapping micro-photovoltaic (micro-PV) structures made on a silicon wafer. Although highly efficient, integrating two different types of materials and elements into a single cell manufacturing process is costly. The new approach is an elegant single-element design where the light-collecting function is merged into the micro-PV structures on a single silicon wafer in a solitary processing line. In the world of PV, every step of the manufacturing process that is eliminated significantly reduces cost.
Inspired by light management techniques used in fibre-optic devices, Solar3D's innovative solar cell technology utilises a 3D design to trap sunlight inside micro-PV structures where photons bounce around until they are converted into electrons. Solar3D's management believes that this breakthrough solar cell design will dramatically change the economics of solar energy.
As Solar3D nears the completion of its prototype, management will seek a fabrication partner, most likely in the semiconductor industry, who will participate in bringing the product to market.