Project Name: Two-Dimensional Material Based Layer Transfer for Low-Cost, High-Throughput, High-Efficiency Solar Cells
Funding Opportunity: PVRD2
SETO Subprogram: Photovoltaics
Location: Cambridge, MA
SETO Award Amount: $225,000
Awardee Cost Share: $25,000
Principal Investigator: Jeehwan Kim

This project is developing an innovative method to reduce or eliminate the cost of expensive substrate materials, which are generally used to grow high-efficiency III-V solar cells. The research team is using a single crystal III-V substrate coated with a single layer of graphene and growing III-V solar cells on this stack in order to achieve the required cost reduction that helps to make III-V type solar cells a more realistic option for commercial use. Once the concept is realized, a graphene-containing substrate will provide releasable high-efficiency, single-crystalline, gallium arsenide solar cells whereby the wafer cost is greatly reduced.

Approach

The research team is working to improve the manufacturing of gallium arsenide single-junction solar cells by developing an ultra-clean high-yield transfer process. Using a graphene layer at the growth interface will allow for the precise mechanical release of solar cells with high yield and enable the cells to be transferred onto an inexpensive glass or metal substrate. The team is partnering with industrial collaborators to achieve flexible gallium arsenide solar cells and demonstrate fast substrate reuse.

Innovation

This project will develop gallium arsenide solar cells that reach efficiencies between 25 percent and 29 percent before and after the transfer process using the graphene surface. The process under development will result in a substrate reuse rate ten times higher than average without degradation of cell efficiency.