Plasmonics for Solar Energy Generation
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
Photovoltaics, while promising clean and reliable energy source, is not yet compatible with fossil energy for most applications. Organic-based solar cells have potential to reduce the cost of solar energy due to low-cost active materials, high-throughput reel-to-reel deposition technologies, low-temperature processing and application versatility. Currently organic photovoltaics (OPV) cannot commercially compete with inorganic devices due to low conversion efficiencies. The team of MicroXact and UCLA DRL proposes to extend absorption of OPV down to infrared region and at the same time greatly enhance carriers transport. Such OPV device will provide the conversion efficiency at the level of standard silicon photovoltaic technology, while keeping all the benefits of OPV technology, such as flexibility and possibility for low cost production. The proposed photovoltaic device will effectively marry low cost/flexibility of presently developed OPV devices with high conversion efficiency of inorganic solar cells. The proprietary structure will significantly enhance the absorption of the solar radiation in the active layer of the solar cell, providing the opportunity to use much thinner active layers, which in turn allows highly efficient transport of the free carriers to the collecting electrodes. BENEFIT: Due to constant increase in fossil energy cost and insecurity in oil and gas supplies, the photovoltaic industry experiences tremendous growth. The scenarios from future prospects for the PV industry yield a range of annual worldwide industry revenues of between $18.6bn and $31.5bn by 2011. Thin film (TF) PV market is predicted to be the fastest growing segment with current volume of $1.6bn before climbing to almost $3.4bn in 2010 and 7.2 in 2015, TF PV will penetrate the PV markets by offering a more cost-competitive solution than traditional PVs for many applications, as by opening up new applications through TF PV''s unique properties which include low weight, flexibility, and ability to be embedded into other materials. The most crippling limitation on conventional PV today is the high cost production. Organic PV can address this and other limitations to open up new applications for solar energy due to low cost of active materials, high-throughput reel-to-reel deposition technologies, low-temperature processing, defect tolerance, and application versatility.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Research Institution Information:
80 Massie Drive Christiansburg, VA 24073
Number of Employees:
University of California Los Angele
56-125B Engineering IV Bldg.
Los Angeles, CA 90095