Project Name: Low-Cost High-Efficiency III-V Photovoltaics Enabled by Remote Epitaxy Through Graphene
Funding Opportunity: Solar Energy Technologies Office Fiscal Year 2018 Funding Program (SETO FY2018)
SETO Research Area: Photovoltaics
Location: Cambridge, MA
SETO Award Amount: $1,000,000
Awardee Cost Share: $375,000
Principal Investigator: Jeehwan Kim
-- Award and cost share amounts are subject to change pending negotiations --
This research team is developing a cost-efficient manufacturing method for thin-film gallium arsenide (GaAs) photovoltaic (PV) cells. They will create reusable graphene-coated bases, or substrates, to grow crystal GaAs for PV cells. GaAs has the potential to improve solar cell efficiency, scalability, and safety compared to alternatives like silicon and cadmium telluride.
First, the team will deposit a graphene layer onto a temporary substrate and then transfer the graphene layer to a base GaAs substrate. Then, they will grow a crystalline GaAs film on the graphene-coated GaAs substrate. The graphene layer will allow these crystalline GaAs films, which can be used to make PV cells, to be removed from the substrates. The graphene-coated substrate can then be reused to grow more GaAs. The research team will examine the quality of the graphene layer after removing the GaAs film and assess how the graphene layer changes under different temperature and gas environments.
This research will lower the cost and increase the scalability of GaAs PV cells manufacturing by creating reusable platforms to grow crystalline GaAs films. The growth and transfer methods they develop will also be applicable to other material systems.