NASA STTR 2006 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 06-2 T3.01-9844
RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE: Space Power and Propulsion
PROPOSAL TITLE: InN-Based Quantum Dot Solar Cells

NAME: Kopin Corporation NAME: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
STREET: 200 John Hancock Road STREET: 1880 Pratt Drive, Suite 2006
CITY: Taunton CITY: Blacksburg
STATE/ZIP: MA  02780 - 7320 STATE/ZIP: VA  24060 - 3325
PHONE: (508) 824-6696 PHONE: (540) 231-5281

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Roger E Welser
200 John Hancock Road
Taunton, MA 02780 - 7320
(508) 824-6696

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract:

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The goal of this STTR program is to employ nanostructured materials in an advanced device design to enhance the tolerance of solar cells to extreme environments while maintaining high solar electric power conversion efficiency. By using InN-based quantum dots embedded within a higher band gap GaN barrier material, a larger fraction of the solar spectrum can be harnessed while minimizing the effects of high temperatures and high-energy radiation with this promising photovoltaic device. The wide range of energies accessible to InN-based materials provides unique flexibility in designing quantum dot solar cell structures. Phase I work demonstrated the feasibility of synthesizing device quality InN-based quantum dots. InN quantum dot assemblies were grown on GaN templates via metalorganic chemical vapor deposition and exhibited well defined x-ray diffraction peaks with dot densities up to 1E10 cm-2. More importantly, strong room temperature photoluminescence has been observed, with peak emission energies ranging from the infrared to the ultraviolet. These promising optical properties suggest it will be possible to build structures incorporating InN quantum dots within a GaN p-n junction to test the basic concepts of quantum dot solar cells during the Phase II effort. The principal Phase II objective is to develop an InN-based quantum dot solar cell capable of high performance in near-sun and extreme radiation environments. Ultimately our approach provides a pathway for realizing solar cells with over 2,000 W/kg of specific power and power conversion efficiency approaching 60%.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Future space exploration missions will require photovoltaic power systems capable of operating in harsh environments with high temperature and extreme radiation exposures. III-V nitrides are extraordinarily robust materials that are being vigorously developed for short optical wavelength and high RF power applications. The objective of this STTR program is to build a solar cell using III-V nitride materials that matches the conversion efficiency of conventional technologies while providing enhanced radiation resistance and high temperature operation capabilities. The technology developed during this program is expected to have immediate market opportunities for NASA exploratory spacecraft power, particularly for near-sun missions.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The STTR project described here is part of a larger effort to address the terrestrial renewable energy market by realizing the ultimate objective of third generation photovoltaics, namely ultra-high conversion efficiency at low costs. InN-based quantum dot solar cells offer the potential of achieving conversion efficiencies approaching 60% with a single p-n junction device. Moreover, existing technologies reasonably suggest these ultra-high efficiency devices could be grown on silicon substrates to minimize material costs. Even lower manufacturing costs and improved performance can be accomplished by inserting these devices into a concentrator system. By combining high performance devices with a manufacturable plastic micro-concentrator module design, we are developing a solar electric technology that will enable unique spacecraft power generation capabilities and accelerate the adoption of photovoltaics into the renewable energy market.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Optical & Photonic Materials
Photovoltaic Conversion
Renewable Energy
Semi-Conductors/Solid State Device Materials

Form Generated on 01-28-08 15:27