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Posted: February 13, 2008

Spire Awarded Patent for Synthesis of Quantum Dot Nanostructures

(Nanowerk News) Spire Corporation (Nasdaq: SPIR), a global solar company providing turnkey solar factories and capital equipment to manufacture photovoltaic modules, cells, and wafers worldwide, today announced that it has been awarded United States Patent Number 7,306,963 entitled “Precision Synthesis of Quantum Dot Nanostructures for Fluorescent and Optoelectronic Devices.” This patent describes a method for designing and synthesizing quantum dot nanoparticles with improved uniformity and size. These quantum dots have the potential to create new high efficiency, low-cost solar cells and other optoelectronic devices such as lasers, light emitting diodes (LEDs), and photodetectors. The extremely small size of these structures also makes them useful for medical assays, diagnostic systems, and therapeutic compounds.
“Quantum dot technology represents an exciting field of research in solar energy today,” said Roger G. Little, Chairman and CEO of Spire Corporation. “Quantum dots have the potential to improve the efficiency of solar cells beyond levels currently available, and quantum dots also have important applications in the fields of medical research and diagnostics. The challenge has always been how to manufacture these small structures with the consistency needed to take advantage of their unique properties. Our scientists have conceived of a large-scale method that may allow the promise of this technology to be realized.”
Quantum dots are nanometer-sized (about one 25-millionth of an inch) semiconductor structures which, when exposed to light at predetermined wavelengths, can generate free electrons and create an electrical current. The confinement of electrons in these minute three-dimensional structures gives scientists the ability to use quantum dots to precisely control the optical properties of various devices, such as a solar cell or a biomarker for detecting cancer.
“The technique we conceived for fabricating the quantum dots involves using compound semiconductor technology developed at Spire Semiconductor, Spire Corporation’s solar cell manufacturing operation,” said Kurt J. Linden, Ph.D., Senior Scientist at Spire Corporation. “It involves the synthesis of free-standing nanoparticles by using a specially designed release layer that separates uniformly sized nanoparticles from gallium arsenide (GaAs) thin films that are grown in our existing GaAs wafer fabrication systems. Such techniques are expected to achieve large-scale volumes of active nanostructures with a highly consistent size. This consistency of size can provide a number of important scientific and commercial benefits.”
“This patent further strengthens our intellectual property portfolio in our solar and optoelectronic market areas,” concluded Little. “It is a testament to the strength and depth of Spire’s research staff.”
About Spire Corporation
Spire Corporation is a global solar company providing turnkey production lines and capital equipment to manufacture photovoltaic modules worldwide. Spire Semiconductor develops and manufactures custom GaAs solar cells and other related products for the commercial, biomedical and defense markets. The company’s Spire Biomedical subsidiary is a leader in hemodialysis catheters and implantable device processing service.
For corporate or product information, contact Spire Corporation, “the turnkey solar factory company,” at 781-275-6000, or visit www.spirecorp.com.
Certain matters described in this news release may be forward-looking statements subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the risk of dependence on market growth, competition and dependence on government agencies and other third parties for funding contract research and services, as well as other factors described in the Company's Form 10-KSB and other periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Source: Spire Corporation