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Posted on August 27, 2007

Sprayed Silicon Nanoparticles Boost PV Performance

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On August 20, 2007, Octillion Corp. (Symbol: OCTL), announced that a published research study has demonstrated, among other achievements, that the same silicon nanoparticles used in development of the Company's first-of-its-kind transparent glass window capable of generating electricity, are able to drastically increase the power performance of conventional silicon solar cells.
In experiments where silicon nanoparticles were applied on top of solar cells, researchers observed large voltage enhancements with dramatic increases in power ranging from as much as 60-70% in the ultraviolet-blue (UV) range, and further reported a significant boost in power by as much as 10% in the visible light range - a major accomplishment. IDTechEx believes, that, if verified, this advance is significant, not least because narrow spectral response is a limitation of conventional silicon photovoltaics and a new, all nanosilicon, sprayed device seems to be in prospect.
"The exceptional power performance of these silicon nanoparticles is a substantial achievement, and is especially significant since our use of these same nanoparticles is to the fundamental development of Octillion's transparent glass windows capable of generating electricity, an innovation that I believe can potentially reduce the harmful environmental impact associated with traditional electrical power generation," explained Mr. Harmel S. Rayat, President and CEO of Octillion Corp.
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Mr. Rayat continued, "Of particular note, the nanoparticle layers used in these experiments not only increased power performance of the conventional solar cell, but importantly, these nanoparticles were able to successfully convert the same UV components that typically cause damage and create wasteful heat, into useful electrical energy. This process not only increases power, but it also serves to reduce UV damage to the solar cell, thus helping increase its lifespan."
"Above all, the nanoparticles in these studies were in the same size ranges used for our window technology, and were layered to create a transparent film, similar to the desired transparency we aim to achieve with Octillion's NanoPower Windows."
In key experiments, researchers integrated ultrathin films of silicon nanoparticles of 1nm and 3nm in diameter directly onto conventional polycrystalline solar cells (BP Solarex Si cells), forming a transparent layer of silicon nanoparticles; the same transparent nanoparticles used in Octillion's window technology. Researchers detailed these findings in the August 6, 2007 edition of the American Institute of Physics' Applied Physics Letters.
Octillion Corp. is a Canadian technology incubator, in Vancouver, focused on the identification, acquisition, development and eventual commercialization of emerging solar energy and solar related technologies.
Among its current research and development activities is the development of a patent-pending technology that could adapt existing home and office glass windows into ones capable of generating electricity from solar energy without losing significant transparency or requiring major changes in manufacturing infrastructure. The technological potential of adapting existing glass windows into ones capable of generating electricity from the sun's solar energy has been made possible through discovery of an electrochemical and ultrasound process that produces identically sized (1 to 4 nanometers in diameter) highly luminescent nanoparticles of silicon that provide varying wavelengths of photoluminescence with high quantum down conversion efficiency of short wavelengths (50% to 60%). IDTechEx notes that most so-called nanotechnology involves particles of tens of nanometers diameter but companies such as NanoMas Technology and InkTec are now offering silver particles of no more than a few nanometers in diameter. Quantum dots from companies such as Evident Technologies are also in this range.
When the new thin films of silicon nanoparticles are sprayed onto silicon substrates, ultraviolet light is absorbed and converted into electrical current. With appropriate connections, the film acts as nanosilicon photovoltaic solar cells that convert solar radiation to electrical energy. The process of producing silicon nanoparticles is supported by 10 issued US patents, 7 pending US patents, 2 issued foreign counterpart patents and 19 pending foreign counterpart patents. IDTechEx wonders if such silicon nanoparticles could help with the narrow spectrum limitations of many organic photovoltaic devices. For additional information regarding Octillion Corp., please visit External Link.