NASA STTR 2009 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 09-1 T3.01-9950
RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE: Technologies for Space Power and Propulsion
PROPOSAL TITLE: Wide Bandgap Nanostructured Space Photovoltaics

NAME: Firefly Technologies NAME: Rochester Institute of Technology
STREET: 2082 Hackberry Lane STREET: One Lomb Memorial Drive
CITY: Shakopee CITY: Rochester
STATE/ZIP: MN  55379 - 4622 STATE/ZIP: NY  14623 - 5603
PHONE: (608) 698-0935 PHONE: (585) 475-2480

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
David V. Forbes
2082 Hackberry Lane
Shakopee, MN 55379 - 4622
(608) 698-0935

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Firefly, in collaboration with Rochester Institute of Technology, proposes an STTR program for the development of a wide-bandgap GaP-based space solar cell capable of efficient operation at temperatures above 300oC. Efficiency enhancement will be achieved by the introduction of InGaP quantum wells within the active region of the wide-gap base material. The introduction of these nanoscale features will enable harvesting of low-energy photons that are normally lost by transmission through the wide bandgap material.

Successful completion of the proposed work will combine the high-temperature, radiation-tolerant wide-bandgap material with current-enhancing nanostructures to produce a high efficiency space solar cell capable of operating at higher temperatures suitable for near-sun missions. This achievement can result in significant cost savings as active cooling of PV systems would be unnecessary with this technology.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Successful completion of the Phase I and II of the proposed work will result in a photovoltaic cell having an elevated temperature efficiency that significantly exceeds performance available in the marketplace today. State of the art concentrator cells are nominally limited to 120oC, whereas this work is expected to demonstrate high-temperature solar cells that exceed GaAs response above 300oC. Such a cell may have significant impact on power system designs for inner-ring planetary and solar missions by simplifying the cooling system design for the solar array. Upon achieving this goal, Firefly plans to license the technology to one of the major US space solar cell manufacturers, Emcore or Spectrolab. Firefly will continue to work with this entity during technology transfer and ongoing R&D. Firefly personnel have a strong track record of bringing innovative technical projects to the marketplace.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
While not directly aligned with space power generation, the InGaP/GaP quantum well system has the potential to emit visible light efficiently. Therefore, it is envisioned that the development of an InGaP/GaP quantum well system may lead to advances in understanding for QW-based LEDs, with the significant advantage of a transparent substrate as an integral part of the epitaxial structure. Visible LEDs represent a significant commercial opportunity and should this technology demonstrate a competitive advantage in the LED industry, Firefly is poised to license the technology.

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.

Beamed Energy
Energy Storage
Optical & Photonic Materials
Photovoltaic Conversion
Power Management and Distribution
Radiation-Hard/Resistant Electronics
Renewable Energy
Semi-Conductors/Solid State Device Materials
Spaceport Infrastructure and Safety

Form Generated on 09-18-09 10:14