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Rapid Multi-Modal Characterization Tools for PV Manufacturing

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0024014
Agency Tracking Number: 0000274368
Amount: $1,300,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: C56-15f
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0002903
Solicitation Year: 2023
Award Year: 2023
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2023-07-10
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2026-04-09
Small Business Information
20 Powder House Blvd APT 2
Somerville, MA 02144
United States
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Dane deQuilettes
 (509) 293-0211
Business Contact
 Anthony Troupe
Phone: () -
Research Institution

The commercialization of new solar materials is critical to meet DOE climate and energy independence goals, but the process of developing and scaling these materials is both time consuming and expensive. Characterization tools have enabled rapid improvement of solar materials but lack the ability to operate in-situ with high-speed manufacturing environments and support the scaling of new solar materials. This proposal addresses the problem of optimizing photovoltaics (PVs) manufacturing and evaluating the performance capabilities of PVs as they are produced.
This proposal will develop and commercialize a high-speed characterization tool which utilizes a collection of optical measurements to forecast the performance potential of solar cells and modules as they are manufactured. More specifically, the proposed tool will enable in-situ prediction of the current-voltage (JV) curve of a cell/module under production at each step of its manufacturing process.
In Phase I and Phase II, this proposal will develop (1) the necessary hardware to measure several material properties in-situ at manufacturing relevant speeds and (2) the predictive models to interpret these measurements taken on partially completed solar devices and forecast the performance of the completed device. In Phase II, the proposal will deploy this developed technology in two rounds of pilots and demonstrate the potential application of the technology in a manufacturing environment by using the tool to provide process control feedback.
The technology of this proposal has broad applications for researchers and manufacturers alike. In the research setting, the proposed tool will enable high-throughput experimentation for faster optimization, leading to viable material candidates being scaled and deployed more quickly. For manufactures, the tool will accelerate debugging of new manufacturing processes on pilot lines and ensure optimal yield during high-volume manufacturing, resulting in better replication of lab-scale “champion” device performance in scaled production. Ultimately, the proposal will ease the bottlenecks experienced in the commercialization of new solar materials and accelerate the deployment of solar PVs.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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