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Posted: July 22, 2009
DOE Grant for Advanced FTIR Materials Characterization and Inspection Tools
(Nanowerk News) Sunovia Energy Technologies, Inc. and its partner EPIR Technologies, Inc. announced today the United States Department of Energy has awarded a second contract to EPIR Technologies to provide improved infrared (IR) detectors to be used in a new generation of tools for the inspection and characterization of infrared materials and products. These advanced tools, known as Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) materials characterization and inspection tools, are used to characterize semiconductor material properties in a nondestructive fashion and are especially useful in semiconductor production environments, to inspect the product for quality control without damaging it.
EPIR, founded in 1998, is a world leader in the development of innovative new infrared products, many of which have been developed and produced under contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense. Sunovia is the exclusive distributor of EPIR products.
The infrared detectors to be produced under the DOE contract are based on II-VI materials (i.e., formulated from elements in the second and sixth columns of the periodic table), similar to those used in ultra-high-efficiency multi-junction solar cells that are being jointly developed by Sunovia and EPIR, also under DOE sponsorship. It is believed that these ultra-high-efficiency solar cells will outperform the most efficient solar cells produced today at a fraction of their cost.
"We are excited to work with the Department of Energy on both next-generation infrared detectors and photovoltaic solar cells. While II-VI materials have been the state-of-the-art in infrared detection for years, they are just now beginning to impact the solar industry with the emergence of thin-film CdTe technology," said Dr. Siva Sivananthan, founder and CEO of EPIR. "The single-crystal II-VI materials we have developed for infrared applications can be tuned more precisely and to a wider degree than those of the materials currently used in ultra-high-efficiency solar cells. This allows us to more efficiently split the solar spectrum and thus achieve higher performance solar cells."
"Government funding is an important element in the early success of the Sunovia-EPIR partnership, not only for its financial impact but also because it demonstrates the value of the advanced technology we are jointly developing," said Carl Smith, co-founder and CEO of Sunovia. "In addition, the success of EPIR's infrared detection business, along with the growth of Sunovia's leading-edge LED illumination business, will generate cash that will help fund our important work in developing ultra-high-efficiency solar cells to provide clean power for future generations."
About Sunovia Energy Technologies, Inc.
Sunovia™ Energy Technologies is a Sarasota, Florida-based company that commercializes and markets products within the LED lighting, infrared, and solar markets that reduce carbon emissions and promote national security. Sunovia's primary lines of business are advanced, cost-effective concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) and flat panel solar systems that employ patented cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar cell and infrared (IR) technologies, and energy-efficient LED lighting products marketed under the EvoLucia™ brand. Sunovia has exclusive marketing rights to products produced by EPIR Technologies, Inc. for civilian and military night vision markets.
Sunovia's solar and LED lighting technologies are among the most cost and energy efficient in the world, and the company's research and development is dedicated to ensuring that Sunovia stays at the forefront of the renewable energy curve as markets expand and territories are defined. Sunovia is being advised by pre-eminent authorities in the field of renewable energy, including former Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham and former Under Secretary of Commerce Kenneth I. Juster.
Sunovia owns a significant equity interest in Illinois-based EPIR Technologies, Inc., a global leader in the field of IR sensors and IR imaging that has pioneered the commercialization of CdTe on Si and HgCdTe on Si photovoltaic products, EPIR's collective infrared knowledge and experience is believed to exceed any company in the world. Its Founder, Chairman and CEO Dr. Sivalingam Sivananthan is the pioneer of HgCdTe growth by MBE and is a world renowned leader in this technology. EPIR holds the patent for growing CdTe directly on a Si readout integrated circuit, for which the company is developing a manufacturing capability with Congressional funding. Sunovia and EPIR have a network of close collaborative relationships, including the Army Research Laboratory, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Night Vision Electronic Sensors Directorate, BAE Systems, and other laboratories around the world.
Source: Sunovia Energy Technologies (press release)