NASA STTR 2009 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 09-1 T3.01-9972
RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE: Technologies for Space Power and Propulsion
PROPOSAL TITLE: Nanowire Photovoltaic Devices

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (SBC): RESEARCH INSTITUTION (RI):
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
dvfsps@rit.edu
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 space solar cell having record efficiency exceeding 40% (AM0) by the introduction of nanowires within the active region of the current limiting sub-cell. The introduction of these nanoscale features will enable realization of an intermediate band solar cell (IBSC), while simultaneously increasing the effective absorption volume that can otherwise limit short circuit current generated by thin quantized layers. The triple junction cell follows conventional designs comprised of bottom Ge cell (0.67eV), a current-limiting middle GaAs (1.43eV) cell, and a top InGaP (1.90eV) cell. The GaAs cell will be modified to contain InAs nanowires to enable an IBSC, which is predicted to demonstrate ~45% efficiency under 1-sun AM0 conditions. The InAs nanowires will be implemented in-situ within the epitaxy environment which is a significant innovation relative to conventional semiconductor nanowire generation using ex-situ gold nanoparticles. Successful completion of the proposed work will result in ultra-high efficiency, radiation-tolerant space solar cells that are compatible with existing manufacturing processes. Significant cost savings are expected with higher efficiency cells which enables increased payload capability and longer mission durations.

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 efficiency that significantly exceeds performance that exists in the marketplace today. 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)
The high efficiency of the proposed device represents a significant competitive advantage for any space-based power generation application. This proposed device offers a significant increase in efficiency which corresponds to a significant cost savings in terms of PV array size, array weight, and launch costs. The proposed cells would represent a disruptive technology within the space PV marketplace.

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.

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


Form Generated on 09-18-09 10:14