Kopin® Corp. (NASDAQ: KOPN) today announced that it has been selected for award of a $600,000 NASA contract to produce nanostructured solar cells comprised of indium gallium phosphide (InGaP) materials. The goal of this two-year project, a NASA Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, is to develop a solar cell design that is more efficient and less expensive than conventional multi-junction technology.
“The material structures used in conventional solar cell designs significantly limit their power conversion efficiency and performance, requiring a trade-off between current and voltage,” said Dr. Roger E. Welser, Kopin’s Director of New Product Development. “For this SBIR program, we are employing a proprietary, patent-pending structure incorporating InGaP barriers, the same material used in our HBT (heterojunction bipolar transistor) wafers for billions of cell phones. In the Phase I program, Kopin produced several InGaP-based test structures that demonstrated a significant increase in the open-circuit voltage without any degradation in current. In this follow-up Phase II program, we aim to further enhance performance while maintaining our long-term objective to produce high-efficiency photovoltaic cells with low cost and good stability.”
Dr. John C.C. Fan, Kopin’s President and Chief Executive Officer stated, “This SBIR program is part of Kopin’s strategy to leverage our unique expertise in nanostructured III-V materials to create high-efficiency solar cells at low cost for the emerging terrestrial renewable energy market. For unconcentrated sunlight, we believe our innovative approach in this SBIR program has the potential to achieve conversion efficiencies exceeding 40% with a single p-n junction device, approximately 20% higher than the current efficiencies of today’s best multi-junction solar cells.”
This is the second NASA contract awarded to Kopin in 2008 for the development of nanostructured solar cell technology. In May, the Company received a two-year, $600,000 award for the development of indium nitride (InN)-based solar cells. This project is focused on producing high-efficiency solar cells that are resistant to extreme conditions such as those found near the sun.