NASA SBIR 2017 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 171 S3.01-9761
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Power Generation and Conversion
PROPOSAL TITLE: A Ferroelectric Semiconductor Absorber for Surpassing the Shockley-Queisser Limit

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Physical Sciences, Inc.
20 New England Business Center
Andover, MA 01810 - 1077
(978) 689-0003

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Mark J. Polking
20 New England Business Center
Andover, MA 01810 - 1077
(978) 738-8152

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. B. David Green
20 New England Business Center
Andover, MA 01810 - 1077
(978) 689-0003 Extension :8146

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 1
End: 3

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Power Generation and Conversion is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) proposes to develop new solar cells based on a ferroelectric semiconductor absorber material that can yield a 30% increase in efficiency and a 20% increase in specific power compared with current triple-junction III-V cells. These gains will be realized by exploiting a unique charge separation mechanism in ferroelectrics that enables open-circuit voltages many times the band gap, leading to maximum power conversion efficiencies exceeding the conventional Shockley-Queisser limit (33%). PSI and team members will create photovoltaic cells based on Earth-abundant SnS stabilized in a ferroelectric state by epitaxial strain engineering. By combining above-gap cell voltages with the high absorption coefficient (<1 x 105 cm-1 at 500 nm), low density (5.22 g/cm3), and ideal band gap (1.1 eV) of SnS, a mass-specific power density of 120 kW/kg (mass of absorber material, 1 um absorber thickness) is projected. In addition, a maximum cell efficiency of >45% is anticipated to be achievable. Importantly, these cells will also offer improved radiation resistance due to the reduced carrier diffusion lengths required by the unique ferroelectric charge separation mechanism. During Phase I, PSI, guided by first-principles calculations conducted by the PARADIM Center at Cornell University, will demonstrate room-temperature ferroelectric ordering in SnS through epitaxial strain engineering. During Phase II, PSI and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will demonstrate the potential of the proposed absorber by achieving above-band gap open-circuit voltages in prototype cells. During a Phase III effort, the efficiency of these cells will be increased to a target value of 45% through reduction of intrinsic defects, leading to substantial improvements in cell size, weight, and power output.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed device will fulfill NASA's need for photovoltaic cells with a high specific power output with respect to both area and mass. These cells can be installed on NASA spacecraft, satellites, and other space vehicles for which size and weight are paramount concerns. These devices may also have applications in lightweight, compact cells for small portable electronic devices to be used by NASA astronauts.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed photovoltaic cells will have commercial applications in small-scale power generation. This technology could provide high-efficiency modules for rooftop power generation, where the available surface area for cell installation is very limited. Compelling applications also exist in the commercial aerospace market, particularly for power generation on commercial satellites. In addition, creation of a robust ferroelectric semiconductor may also provide a platform for quantum computing through a giant Rashba effect predicted to occur in ferroelectric semiconductors.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (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.)
Materials (Insulator, Semiconductor, Substrate)
Sources (Renewable, Nonrenewable)

Form Generated on 04-19-17 12:59