New MEMS White Paper

Download the latest Logitech white paper and learn more about MEMS processing technology and techniques

Download our CMP White Paper


FREE subscription
Subscribe for free to receive each issue of Semiconductor Today magazine and weekly news brief.


21 May 2007


Emcore achieves 31% efficiency for new space solar cells

The PhotoVoltaics Division of Emcore Corp in Albuquerque, NM, USA has achieved record conversion efficiency of 31% for a new class of multi-junction solar cells optimized for space applications (compared to 28.5% for its cells currently in production). Emcore has also achieved 37% peak conversion efficiency for its current volume-production terrestrial concentrating solar cell products.

The new Inverted Metamorphic (IMM) solar cell consists of a novel combination of compound semiconductors that enables a superior response to the solar spectrum compared to conventional multi-junction solar cells, Emcore claims. Due to its new design, the IMM cell is about one fifteenth the thickness of the conventional multi-junction solar cell.

“Achievement of 31% conversion efficiency will enable new space power applications in addition to the fact that the IMM cells offer the most sought-after performance characteristics,” says Emcore’s president and chief operating officer Hong Q Hou.

Developed in conjunction with the Vehicle Systems Directorate of the US Air Force Research Laboratory, the IMM cell will enable a new class of extremely lightweight, high-efficiency, and flexible solar arrays to power the next generation of spacecraft and satellites, as well as forming a platform for future generations of terrestrial concentrator products.

Emcore has achieved 37% peak conversion efficiency (under concentrated illumination conditions) using a production terrestrial concentrator cell that is an evolution of its proven Concentrator Triple Junction (CTJ) production technology, with which several million CTJ solar cells have been produced and shipped to concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) system manufacturers. Emcore reckons that its investment in technology development should enable the introduction of concentrator solar cell products with conversion efficiency of 40% as part of its planned high-volume product roadmap.

“The successful demonstration of this new class IMM cell represents the most significant improvement in terms of watts/kg and $/watts in the past decade, which will enable never before envisioned space power applications,” reckons PhotoVoltaics Division VP and general manager David Danzilio.

See related items:

Spectrolab’s new terrestrial solar cell smashes 40% efficiency barrier

Emcore's PhotoVoltaics wins $41m multi-year order for communications satellites