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18 April 2018

MicroLink achieves NREL-certified record 37.75% efficiency for triple-junction ELO solar cell on 6” GaAs production platform

© Semiconductor Today Magazine / Juno PublishiPicture: Disco’s DAL7440 KABRA laser saw.

MicroLink Devices of Niles, IL, USA has achieved a record 37.75% power conversion efficiency for a triple-junction epitaxial lift-off (ELO) thin-film solar cell produced on a 6-inch gallium arsenide (GaAs) substrate production platform, as officially certified by the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and tested under the industry-standard air-mass 1.5 global (AM1.5G) simulated 1-Sun solar spectrum.

The specific power of the ELO solar cell design exceeds 3000W/kg under the 1-sun AM0 spectrum, which is also claimed to be a record compared with any other solar cell technology.

The solar cells are currently used to provide energy to the Zephyr HALE (High Altitude Long Endurance) platform produced by Airbus Defence and Space in Farnborough, UK. MicroLink has an exclusive licensing agreement with NREL for the inverted metamorphic multi-junction (IMM) technology used to manufacture the high-efficiency solar device.

MicroLink says that its proprietary ELO process makes it possible to peel off thin layers of active solar cell material that were deposited on a GaAs substrate. The expensive GaAs substrate can then be re-used multiple times to lower manufacturing costs. The firm’s ELO technology development has been supported over the past decade by numerous US agencies including NASA, DARPA, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), the Office of Naval Research (ONR), NAVAIR, Army Research Office, Army REF, CERDEC, ARPA-E, and the Department of Energy (DOE).

“We are continuing to push the limits of what can be achieved with the ELO technology,” says founder & president Dr Noren Pan. “Our triple-junction IMM ELO solar cells combine the highest efficiency with the lowest mass density of any solar cell technology available,” he claims. “This represents a compelling solution for demanding unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and satellite applications.”

More details about the record ELO cell performance are being presented at the 36th annual Space Power Workshop at the Renaissance Los Angeles Hotel (23-26 April) and at the 45th IEEE Photovoltaics Specialists Conference (PVSC 2018) in Waikoloa, Hawai, USA (10-15 June).

See related items:

MicroLink signs exclusive license agreement to manufacture NREL IMM solar cell technology

Tags: MicroLink  GaAs PV Multi-junction solar cells

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