New Mexico Patent of the Month – September 2022
Solar cells are an efficient and sustainable way to utilize the sun’s energy to generate electricity. While many of us think of solar panel rooftops or business applications of solar cells, we may not be familiar with its applications in space. Typically, solar cells are made of silicon, which has low energy output and is not as efficient as Ill-V compound semiconductor multijunction devices. These devices utilize elements from groups III-V in the periodic table to manufacture these solar cells. However, these are difficult to manufacture, requiring complex processes and high-cost of materials.
SolAero Technologies Corp (SolAero) is a space company that provides reliable launch services, spacecraft and satellite components. They aim to simplify space structures, allowing researchers and scientists to get their ideas to orbit. They specialize in developing solar cells to power satellites in orbit.
Their latest development outlines an efficient manufacturing process to create multijunction solar cells. They begin with a solar substrate made out of geranium, an inexpensive material used to provide support for integrated circuits. They then deposit a sequence of layers of semiconductor material forming a solar cell. A metal contact layer is added and all layers are attached via a polyamide adhesive. Their solar cells have superior radiation resistance and can withstand extreme temperatures. The cells have a 30% minimum average efficiency, with competing silicon solar cells only reaching up to 18% efficiency under comparable conditions. SolAero’s innovative solar cells provide space experts with affordable, high-quality, high-efficiency, and reliable power for all space equipment.
Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.
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