Metal-blacks for plasmonic enhancement of solar-cell efficiency

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA9550-10-C-0069
Agency Tracking Number: F09B-T39-0266
Amount: $99,275.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2009
Solicitation Topic Code: AF09-BT39
Solicitation Number: 2009.B
Small Business Information
5807 Wales Ave., Port Orange, FL, 32127
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Chris Fredricksen
 (386) 631-7319
Business Contact
 Beth Greene
Title: Administrative Assistant
Phone: (386) 308-3177
Research Institution
 University of Central Florida
 Robert Peale
 4000 Central Florida Blvd.
Orlando, FL, 32816
 (407) 823-5208
 Nonprofit college or university
This Phase I STTR proposal will demonstrate nanostructured “metal-black” coatings to enhance absorption by thin film solar cells. The problem is that silicon has low absorption due to its indirect gap. The opportunity is that nano-scale metallic scattering centers increase the effective optical path length and enhance the solar electric-field strength in thin-film solar cells, leading to more efficient harvesting of solar photons. We propose deposition of so-called “metal blacks”, a nano-structured conductor that requires no lithographic patterning and gives a broad particle-size distribution. Effects of coverage, particle size distribution, co-deposition of dielectric polymers, and co-deposition of different metal-blacks will be investigated. The role of plasma oscillations will be elucidated and optimized by correlating efficiency improvements with Photo-Electron Emission Microscopy images of resonance hot-spot distributions. BENEFIT: Anticipated benefits of this research are order-of-magnitude increases in light harvesting and photo-voltaic conversion efficiency by means of a simple low-cost coating process. This can substantially decrease the number and weight of solar panels. In addition to usual photo-voltaic power generation, commercial opportunities significantly include space-flight and airborne applications having restricted weight budgets.

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

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