NASA SBIR 2005 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Power Generation & Transmission
PROPOSAL TITLE:Novel Solar Cell Nanotechnology for Improved Efficiency and Radiation Hardness

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
CFD Research Corp
215 Wynn Dr.
Huntsville ,AL 35805 - 1926
(256) 726 - 4800

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Marek    Turowski
215 Wynn Dr.
Huntsville, AL  35805 -1926
(256) 726 - 4858

Significant improvements in photovoltaic materials and systems are required to enable future exploration missions. This SBIR project, involving two innovative organizations: CFD Research Corporation (CFDRC) and University of California Riverside (UCR), has two major objectives: 1) develop and provide reliable, validated computational tools for assessment, design, and optimization of novel nanostructures based on Quantum Dots (QD) for future nano-devices for space applications; 2) investigate, design, and demonstrate new photovoltaic (PV) structures based on QD nanotechnology, with improved efficiency and radiation hardness. The inherently radiation tolerant quantum dots of variable sizes maximize absorption of different light wavelengths ("multicolor" cell), which dramatically improves PV efficiency and diminishes the radiation-induced degradation.
Phase I includes development of numerical tools for modeling electron-phonon transport in QD superlattices for photovoltaic applications, using experimental data from UCR Nano-Device Laboratory for validation and calibration of the new tools, and computational proof-of-concept. In Phase II, the new QD models will be integrated into CFDRC's advanced photonic-electronic device simulator. Novel QD photovoltaic nano-engineered materials and designs will be down-selected for further development to the point of testable prototypes. They will be fabricated and provided to NASA for electrical characterization and radiation testing.

Improvements in solar cell efficiency and radiation hardness are required to enable NASA future exploration missions. Novel nano-engineered materials and multi-quantum-dot photovoltaic devices promise to deliver more efficient, lightweight solar cells and arrays which will be of extreme value to NASA space missions. The new modeling and simulation tools for quantum-dot-based nanostructures will help NASA to:
1. better understand and predict behavior of nano-devices and novel materials in space environment;
2. assess technologies, devices, and materials of new electronic systems;
3. better evaluate the performance and radiation response at early design stage;
4. set requirements for hardening and testing; reduce the amount of testing cost and time.

All satellites, military and commercial, suffer from solar cell degradation due to the effects of radiation. The higher efficiency of the novel quantum-dot solar cells will increase capacity of the solar array at the beginning of life (BOL) to compensate for the degradation at the end of life (EOL), to maintain the minimal requirements of the spacecraft. Retarding the degradation will have substantive impact on the size and weight of the solar arrays for both military as well as civilian commercial space systems. The inherently radiation tolerant quantum dots will lead to more robust space defense systems. The new, more accurate modeling and simulation tools for Quantum-Dots based photonic devices will enable better understanding, analysis, and design of novel materials and nano-devices for aerospace systems and their radiation-response. The modeling and design tools will provide reduction in cost and time-to-market through significantly reduced experimental R&D, design cycle, and laboratory testing time and cost.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Photovoltaic Conversion
Semi-Conductors/Solid State Device Materials

Form Printed on 09-19-05 13:12