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Posted: May 2, 2008
Kopin Selected for Award of NASA Solar Cell Development Contract
(Nanowerk News) Kopin Corp. (NASDAQ: KOPN), the world's leading provider of heterojunction bipolar transistor (HBT) wafers for cellular phones and wireless local area networks, announced that it has been selected for the award of a $600,000 solar cell development contract from NASA. The contract is the second phase of a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program to develop indium nitride (InN)-based quantum dot solar cell technology. Kopin's partners on this NASA STTR project include groups at Virginia Tech and Magnolia Optical Technologies.
"The goal of this STTR program is to develop high-efficiency solar cells that are resistant to extreme conditions while achieving high solar electric power conversion efficiency," said Dr. Roger Welser, Kopin's Director of Technology and New Product Development. "The advanced patent-pending solar cell structure incorporating InN-based nanostructures can harness a very large fraction of the solar spectrum while minimizing the effects of high temperatures and high-energy radiation. This technology will enable photovoltaic power systems of future NASA space exploration missions to operate in extreme environments with high temperature and radiation exposures."
Quantum-dot nanostructures allow the spectral response and operating voltage of a solar cell to be tailored in ways that are not possible with bulk semiconductor materials. In particular, the wide range of energies accessible to InN-based materials provides unique flexibility in designing quantum-dot solar cell structures. Phase I work demonstrated device-quality InN-based quantum dots exhibiting strong room-temperature photoluminescence, with peak emission energies ranging from the infrared to the ultraviolet. During the Phase II program, the InN-based quantum dots will be embedded within a higher band-gap GaN barrier material to demonstrate high efficiency and immunity to extreme environments.
"The innovative structure, together with Kopin's strength in manufacturing large quantities of epitaxial materials, renders Kopin an excellent choice for the NASA award," said Dr. John C.C. Fan, Kopin President and Chief Executive Officer. "This STTR project is part of Kopin's long-term goal to address the emerging terrestrial renewable energy market by realizing the ultimate objective of high conversion efficiency at low costs. Kopin is currently exploring a number of options for synthesizing high-performance photovoltaic materials. Ultimately our approaches can provide pathways for realizing solar cells with power conversion efficiency approaching 60%, well beyond the current state-of-the-art efficiency of 40%."
Kopin Corporation produces lightweight, power-efficient, ultra-small liquid crystal displays and heterojunction bipolar transistors (HBTs) that are revolutionizing the way people around the world see, hear and communicate. Kopin has shipped more than 20 million displays for a range of consumer and military applications including digital cameras, personal video eyewear, camcorders, thermal weapon sights and night vision systems. The Company's unique HBTs, which help to enhance battery life, talk time and signal clarity, have been integrated into billions of wireless handsets as well as into WiFi, VoIP and high-speed Internet data transmission systems. Kopin's proprietary display and HBT technologies are protected by more than 200 global patents and patents pending. For more information, please visit Kopin's website at www.kopin.com.
Kopin and The NanoSemiconductor Company are trademarks of Kopin Corporation.