NASA 1996 SBIR Phase I


PROPOSAL NUMBER : 96-1 16.11-0655

PROJECT TITLE : Growth of Ilmenite Crystals and Thin Films for Radiation-resistant Solar Cells

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)

The innovation contained in this proposal is the synthesis and characterization of homoepitaxial thin film and bulk single crystal ilmenite semiconductor substrates for use in solar cells and high temperature electronic devices. The proposed ilmenite solar cell development is responsive to NASA Subtopic 16.11 by facilitating the processing of materials abundantly present on the lunar surface and elsewhere in the planetary environment. The Phase I project objectives include the growth of bulk ilmenite single crystals and polycrystalline targets, identification of pulsed laser deposition parameters for fabrication of ilmenite homoepitaxial thin films, characterization and analysis of bulk single crystals and homoepitaxial thin films for reproducibility and device quality, and the development of contacts for photovoltaic devices. The proposed effort will establish laser processing parameters for the fabrication of ilmenite homoepitaxial thin films for the development of solar cells in the Phase II Program. The anticipated result is the availability of photovoltaic devices that are radiation resistant, efficient, reliable and operational at high temperatures and that may eventually be produced in situ in human space missions. NASA has many space applications for solar cells and other photovoltaic devices and would realize significant benefits from ilmenite utilization as a planetary material.
POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS
The proposed bulk single crystal growth and homoepitaxial thin film fabrication of ilmenite as n- and p-type semiconductors will result in high performance, efficient and reliable photovoltaic devices for space applications. The technique will address a significant commercial market in the areas of high temperature integrated circuits, solar cells, p-n junction devices, gamma-ray detectors, radiation-resistant devices and photoanodes.
NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR
Dr. Usha Varshney
American Research Corporation of Virginia
P.O. Box 3406
Radford, VA 24143-3406

NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR
American Research Corporation of Virginia
P.O. Box 3406
Radford, VA 24143-3406