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Posted: Aug 09, 2011
Two Patents Issued to Bandgap Engineering for Silicon Nanowire Solar Cells
(Nanowerk News) Bandgap Engineering, a developer of silicon nanowire solutions, announced today that it had secured a pair of patents representing significant breakthroughs in solar energy conversion efficiency and cost.
United States Patent #7,973,995, entitled "Designing the host of nano-structured optoelectronic devices to improve performance," covers technology to improve the performance of solar cells by placing scattering centers in volume around the nanomaterial. The resulting composite absorbs more of the incident light for energy conversion.
Bandgap Engineering Founder and CTO Dr. Marcie Black and her team also recently secured related U.S. Patent #7,893,512 to exploit nanowire/matrix interfaces and nano-engineer the band structure of silicon to optimize silicon for solar energy conversion.
In describing the patents, Dr. Black explained, "These latest patents demonstrate the effort Bandgap is making to advance nanowire technology for widespread commercial adoption. Both patents point the way to cost-effective advances in solar power efficiency. The Bandgap team is also developing corresponding designs, as well as fabrication and manufacturing techniques to reduce solar cell production cost."
Dr. Black pointed out that Bandgap's work is complemented by more recent work published by Michael Kelzenberg, Harry Atwater, and colleagues from the California Institute of Technology. Kelzenberg et. al. placed alumina particles inside a matrix which held an array of silicon wires (reference: Nature Materials, published online February 14th 2010).
About Bandgap Engineering
Founded in 2007, privately held Bandgap Engineering develops silicon nanowire solutions to make renewable power more efficient, less material-intensive, and more cost-effective than conventional power. Bandgap's nanowire-enhanced solar cell designs combine low-cost processing with crystalline silicon to yield high-efficiency products. Our tunable silicon nanowires make these designs possible, helping to make solar power cost-competitive with conventional grid power. We are also developing our silicon nanowires for high-capacity Li-ion battery anodes. For more information, visit www.bandgap.com.