NASA STTR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-1 T3.01-9876
RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE: Space Power and Propulsion
PROPOSAL TITLE: Optical Downconverting Nanomaterials for Enhanced Photovoltaic Efficiency

NAME: EIC Laboratories, Inc. NAME: Arizona Board of Regents, University of Arizona
STREET: 111 Downey Street STREET: PO Box 3308
CITY: Norwood CITY: Tucson
STATE/ZIP: MA  02062 - 2612 STATE/ZIP: AZ  85722 - 3308
PHONE: (781) 769-9450 PHONE: (520) 626-6000

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Jane Bertone

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 4 to 5

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
For photovoltaic cells used to power space missions, such as those based on silicon, CuInGaSe2, and III-V materials, optical-to-electrical conversion efficiency is reduced by at least 25% because the energy of solar photons in excess of the band gap of the semiconductor absorber is lost. The excess photon energy is converted to heat. In addition, the quantum efficiencies of solar cells tend to degrade for high energy photons due to surface recombination effects. Optical down-conversion has been suggested as a method to recoup this lost energy, providing an increase in the theoretical single junction photovoltaic conversion efficiency from 30.9% to 39.6%. If substantial gains in PV efficiency could be achieved with a thin film coating of an efficient two photon downconverting layer, it would have a tremendous benefit not only to NASA payload burden, but also the the economics of terrestrial solar cells. However, the absence of materials with suitable time constants for the relevant electronic processes has hindered the realization of this method. Our proposed solution, being developed by the University of Arizona, is to use the unique optical properties of nanocrystals to produce efficient downconverting emitter materials. Phase I will entail synthesis of the new materials at EIC Laboratories and their optical evaluation at Arizona, with a goal of demonstrating the first practical examples of such a thin film material.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The principal product arising from this research is an economical and long-lived thin film overcoating for solar cells that can be retrofitted to boost their efficiency by up to 30%. The product would be used in military/aerospace applications to provide enhanced performance for the solar payload, thus reducing the launch weight for a given power requirement.The technology would be applied to orbiting stations and satellites as well as to lunar and planetary expeditions.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The technology would have extensive applications in the rapidly growing terrestrial solar photovoltaic industry, which has been estimated to approach $100 billion by 2020 due to increased demand for alternative energy sources. It also would be used for enhancing solar cell efficiencies used in powering instrumentation and cell phone/laptop rechargers.

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 09-18-07 17:52