High Operating Temperature, Radiation-Hard MIM Thermophotovoltaic Converters

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNC06CA63C
Agency Tracking Number: 054979
Amount: $69,387.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2006
Solicitation Year: 2005
Solicitation Topic Code: S2.04
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
One Patriots Park, Bedford, MA, 01730-2396
DUNS: 065137978
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Steven Wojtczuk
 Principal Investigator
 (781) 275-6000
 swojtczuk@bandwidthsemi.com
Business Contact
 Mark Little
Title: CEO, Spire Biomedical
Phone: (781) 275-6000
Email: mlittle@spirecorp.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
Spire Corporation proposes to investigate InGaAs thermophotovoltaic (TPV) cells optimized for high temperature operation (~150C) and radiation hardness against the 1.64MeV neutron flux likely from plutonium dioxide general purpose heat sources. We propose to develop a temperature-dependent TPV cell model and select an optimum bandgap for 150C operation with a 1100C heat spectrum, using a cell design with a thin (~1 micron vs standard ~3 micron) base that improves tolerance to diffusion length degradation from radiation. In order to increase photon absorption in this thin cell, we propose to epitaxially grow a monolithic 15 period InGaAs/InAlAs Bragg mirror to reflect about 90% of the incident usable (2 ~micron wavelength) photons back through the cell. The proposed advantage of the Bragg over a standard back metal mirror reflector is that the dielectric mirror has some ability to use strain exerted at the interfaces of the different mirror materials as a threading-to-misfit dislocation filter to further enhance the cell efficiency. We also propose to examine polyimide along with standard SiN for MIMs (monolithically integrated multijunction module) edge passivation.

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

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