QuantaSol Ltd, an
independent designer and manufacturer of strain-balanced quantum-well solar
cells has exclusively licensed advanced materials growth technology from the
University of Houston to make its manufacturing process simpler and cheaper,
while further improving solar cell efficiency.
“We’ve already tested the benefits of using Houston’s dilute
nitride materials in the way we engineer quantum wells in our cells,”
said Keith Barnham, CSO and co-founder of QuantaSol. “The exclusive worldwide
licence is a strategic move to ensure we maintain our performance advantage,
and we will work with our colleagues in Houston to develop the techniques further
in commercial production in 2010.”
QuantaSol combines nanostructures, ‘quantum wells’, of two or more
different alloys, in order to obtain synthetic crystals. The crystalline structure
can be tuned during manufacture to overcome the absorption problems associated
with current concentrator photo-voltaic (CPV) cell designs. The quantum well
effect also greatly enhances the photovoltaic conversion efficiency, as already
proven by its recent world record efficiency single junction device. Ultimately
QuantaSol will produce highly efficient triple junction CPV devices in 2010.
The use of dilute nitrides will allow QuantaSol to reduce the number of quantum
well layers it needs to introduce into each junction, while maintaining or increasing
solar efficiency. This further reduces the thickness and manufacturing cost
of its production devices.
“This is the first major collaboration QuantaSol has announced,”
said Chris Shannon, QuantaSol’s new CEO. “It indicates just how
close the company is getting to being able to produce very efficient devices
in production quantities. I’m really looking forward to the progress we
will deliver over the next 12 months.”
Chris Shannon is an experienced semiconductor, optics and photonics leader.
He joined QuantaSol in September in a planned move to structure the company
for volume manufacture.
"We are excited to cooperate with QuantaSol in its application of the
basic patents of Prof. Alex Freundlich on quantum well solar cells. These joint
efforts will advance solar cell technology and help increase our use of renewable
resources, " said Alex Ignatiev, director, Center for Advanced Materials,
and distinguished university professor of physics, chemistry, and electrical
and computer engineering for the University of Houston.