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Project Name: Low‐Cost Nanostructured Substrates for Efficient Epitaxial Lift‐Off of III‐V Solar Cells
Funding Opportunity: PVRD-SIPS
SETO Subprogram: Photovoltaics
Location: Mountain View, CA
Award Amount: $159,939
Awardee Cost Share: $40,038
Project Investigator: Alan Chin

This project aims to significantly decrease the cost of epitaxially grown III-V solar cells through the use of low-cost, nano-structured substrates for efficient epitaxial lift-off of III-V thin films. The nano-structured array will serve as the sacrificial layer to enable the low-cost growth of thin film III-V solar cells.

Approach

The research team will utilize a chemical vapor deposition setup to grow a variety of arrays of nanopillars. In particular, they will grow indium phosphide (InP) nanopillars with a range of structural characteristics on silicon, along with indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs) nanopillars of the appropriate composition to match the crystal lattice of InP. To ensure a proper comparison, the InP thin films grown on nanostructured substrates will be compared with the baseline InP thin films grown on bare InP substrates. An adhesive will be used to lift off the InP thin film.

Innovation

Successful development of this method could enable cost reductions in the lift-off step relative to current technology. The team hopes to commercialize the technology in five years with a module conversion efficiency higher than 30%, which would result in a levelized cost of energy of two to three cents per kilowatt hour by 2030.