Monday, February 04, 2008


SunFlake LogoDanish SunFlake is developing a new generation of solar cells based on a novel shape of semiconductor nanostructures named "NanoFlakes".

These nanostructures could eliminate the need for a lattice-matched substrate as well as for a clean solar grade substrate.
The sole purpose for the carrier substrate is to allow for the growth of the nanostructures and act as a contact to the light absorbing nanostructures when the solar cell is operating.

Their goal is to achieve a solar cell with up to 30% conversion efficiency of the solar energy into electricity and (twice the amount that we convert today) on a low cost substrate based on perfect single crystal III-V nanostructures.

A few of the potential advantages of the SunFlake solar cell design:

  • n-p junctions in perfect single crystals on a non-lattice matched substrate.
  • Short distance from electron-hole pair generation to the n-p junction.
  • Only small amounts of expensive solar grade material isused in the nanostructures, none in the substrate.
Martin Aagesen, who is a PhD from the Nano-Science Center and the Niels Bohr Institute at University of Copenhagen, besides being director of the company SunFlake Inc., commented how he discovered what it could be a revolutionary step in solar energy:
"I discovered a perfect crystalline structure. That is a very rare sight. While being a perfect crystalline structure we could see that it also absorbed all light. It could become the perfect solar cell,"
"The potential is unmistakeable. We can reduce the solar cell production costs because we use less of the expensive semiconducting silicium in the process due to the use of nanotechnology. At the same time, the future solar cells will exploit the solar energy better as the distance of energy transportation in the solar cell will be shorter and thus lessen the loss of energy."
Spectrolab has also addressed the issue of solar cell efficiency using the latest solar cell technology (Improved Triple-Junction with a minimum average efficiency of 26.5%) to power Galaxy IIIC, the world's highest capacity satellite launched on June 15, 2002.

Ultra-Triple-Junction solar cells, with a minimum average efficiency of 28.3%, are now in production and allow satellite operators the choice of increasing the capacity of their existing satellite platforms.

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