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Nanowire Photovoltaic Devices

Award Information

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2011 / STTR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Firefly Technologies
2082 Hackberry Lane Shakopee, MN 55379-4622
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 2
Fiscal Year: 2011
Title: Nanowire Photovoltaic Devices
Agency: NASA
Contract: NNX11CC58C
Award Amount: $599,918.00


Firefly, in collaboration with Rochester Institute of Technology, proposes developing 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, enabling increased payload capability and longer mission durations.

Principal Investigator:

David Forbes
Principal Investigator

Business Contact:

Michael Nesnidal
Business Official
Small Business Information at Submission:

Firefly Technologies
2082 Hackberry Lane Shakopee, MN 55379-4622

EIN/Tax ID: 476726493
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: Yes
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Research Institution Information:
Rochester Institute of Technology
111 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623-5608
Contact: Katherine Clark