Tuesday, June 30, 2009

QuantaSol Unveils 28.3% Efficient Single-Junction Solar Cell

World record made public at UK's Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition

Business Wire, Kingston-Upon-Thames, England, Jun 30, 2009

QuantaSol Ltd, a new independent designer and manufacturer of strain-balanced quantum-well solar cells, has developed what it believes to be the most efficient single junction solar cell ever manufactured. Developed in just two years, QuantaSol's single-junction device has been independently tested by Fraunhofer ISE as achieving 28.3% efficiency at greater than 500 suns.

QuantaSol was established in June 2007 as a spin-out of Imperial College London to commercialise the University's solar cell IP and offer devices to concentrator Photovoltaic (PV) systems developers. Imperial will be featuring a QuantaSol device as part of its presence at the Royal Society Summer Exhibition in London this week.

"Our technology is the industry's best kept secret. This is the first time that anyone has successfully combined high efficiency with ease of manufacture, historically a bug-bear of the solar cell industry," said Kevin Arthur, QuantaSol's CEO. "We're now gearing up to provide multi-junction cells of even higher efficiencies as early as Q1 2010."

QuantaSol's approach combines several nanostructures, of two or more different alloys, in order to obtain synthetic crystals that overcome the problems associated with current solar cell designs. It also greatly enhances the photovoltaic conversion efficiency.

The company, which has a development laboratory in Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, completed a GBP 2m second funding round last week. It will now concentrate on cutting the cost of ownership of solar energy by moving to multi-junction devices.

Editor's notes:

QuantaSol is funded and backed by the Low Carbon Accelerator and Imperial Innovations, and its strain-balanced quantum-well solar cell (SB-QWSC) is believed to be the highest performing single-junction concentrator cell in the world with the potential to enhance multi-junction cells to record efficiencies very soon.

Solar cell manufacturers need to find a crystalline semiconductor material that exhibits the optimum light absorption range, is a good absorber of solar radiation (silicon, for instance, is weak), has essentially the same lattice spacing of commercially available substrates like Gallium Arsenide or Germanium, and can be deposited seamlessly on those substrates to form a unique artificial crystal with no defects or unwanted impurities, using commercially viable crystal-growth technologies. None of the known semiconductor compounds or alloys can meet all these conditions at the same time.

QuantaSol's approach combines several nanostructures of two or more different alloys in order to obtain synthetic crystals that overcome the problems associated with current solar cell designs and also enhances the photovoltaic conversion efficiency.


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