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School of Illinois Researchers Demonstrate Us Little Known Techniques to Produce More Successful Pv panels

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Despite the fact that silicon is actually the market normal semiconductor in most electric products, including the solar cells that solar panels use to transform sun rays into power, it is not really the most effective product readily available. For instance, the semiconductor gallium arsenide and associated substance semiconductors give close to double the effectiveness as silicon in photo voltaic devices, yet they are rarely utilized in utility-scale applications mainly because of their excessive construction value.

University. of I. ( professors J. Rogers and X. Li explored lower-cost methods to create thin films of gallium arsenide which also allowed adaptability in the sorts of devices they can be incorporated into.

If you may minimize substantially the price of gallium arsenide and other compound semiconductors, then you can increase their variety of applications.

Usually, gallium arsenide is deposited in a single thin layer on a smaller wafer. Either the ideal device is created right on the wafer, or the semiconductor-coated wafer is cut up into chips of the ideal size. The Illinois team chose to put in multiple levels of the material on a single wafer, making a layered, “pancake” stack of gallium arsenide thin films.

If you grow ten layers in 1 growth, you simply have to load the wafer one time. If you do this in 10 growths, loading and unloading with temperature ramp-up as well as ramp-down take a lot of time. If you take into account exactly what is needed for every growth – the machine, the research, the time, the workers – the overhead saving this method offers is a substantial cost decrease.

Following the scientists individually peel off the layers and transfer them. To accomplish this, the stacks alternate levels of aluminum arsenide with the gallium arsenide. Bathing the stacks in a solution of acid and an oxidizing agent dissolves the levels of aluminum arsenide, freeing the single thin sheets of gallium arsenide. A soft stamp-like system selects up the levels, one at a time from the top down, for transfer to another substrate – glass, plastic material or silicon, depending on the application. After that the wafer may be used again for an additional growth.

By doing this it's possible to make a lot more material much more fast and more cost efficiently. This process could produce mass amounts of material, as compared to merely the thin single-layer way in which it is usually grown.

Freeing the material from the wafer also starts the possibility of flexible, thin-film electronics made with gallium arsenide or other high-speed semiconductors. To make units that may conform but still maintain high efficiency, that is considerable.

In a document shared online May 20 in the journal Nature (, the team describes its procedures and displays three types of products using gallium arsenide chips produced in multilayer stacks: light devices, high-speed transistors and photo voltaic cells. The authors additionally offer a comprehensive cost comparability.

Another advantage associated with the multilayer method is the release from area constraints, especially crucial for solar cells. As the layers are removed from the stack, they can be laid out side-by-side on an additional substrate in order to produce a much larger surface area, whereas the typical single-layer process restricts area to the size of the wafer.

For photovoltaics, you want large area coverage to catch as much sunlight as achievable. In an extreme situation we could develop adequate levels to have ten times the area of the conventional.

Next, the group plans to explore more potential product applications and other semiconductor materials that might adapt to multilayer growth.

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