September 9, 2015
MicroLink Devices is pleased to announce that it has been awarded the following programs.
1) SBIR Phase I through the Air Force Research Laboratory
Title: 40% Efficient, Radiation-Hard, Low-Cost Solar Cell using InP-Based Epitaxial Lift-Off
An ultra-high efficiency, radiation-hard, six-junction solar cell for application to Air Force space missions will be developed. The proposed technology will comprise lattice-matched subcells grown on InP and GaAs substrates that are mechanically attached in a monolithic structure to achieve 1-sun AM0 efficiency in excess of 40%. To render the solar cell cost-efficient, MicroLink’s proprietary epitaxial lift-off (ELO) technology will be used to separate the epitaxial layers from the InP substrate, allowing it to be reused for multiple growth cycles.
2) SBIR Phase I through NASA
Title: Flexible ELO Solar Cells with Ultra-High Specific Power and Areal Power Density
Ultra-lightweight, high-efficiency, GaAs-based, multi-junction solar cell suitable for use in future platforms requiring very high specific power (>2.0 kW/kg) and areal power density (>370 W/m2) will be developed. The resulting solar cell technology will enable power generation and conversion for robotic science mission applications, and in particular solar electric propulsion (SEP). In addition to drastically reducing the mass of MicroLink’s current highly flexible ELO solar cell technology, advanced novel compact lightweight array designs will be possible. This will be achieved primarily by reducing the metal content of MicroLink’s current inverted metamorphic (IMM), epitaxial lift-off (ELO) solar cell and replacing the metal with robust, low-density, space qualified polymers that will retain the flexibility, durability and robustness of ELO solar cell at a fraction of its present weight.
3) SBIR Phase I through NASA
Title: Radiation Hard, High Efficiency, Quadruple Junction Solar Cells Based on InGaAsN
High-efficiency (>40%), quadruple (4) junction solar on lightweight Ge substrates will be developed. A new semiconductor alloy, InGaAsN, will be developed and employed as the 1.18 eV bottom cell in quadruple-junction [InGaP (1.8 eV) / GaInAs P(1.5 eV) / InGaAsN (1.18 eV) / Ge (0.67eV)] solar cells. The InGaAsN alloy material will be lattice matched to Ge, which is a clear improvement over existing inverted metamorphic (IMM) technology, specifically, the existing lattice-mismatched InGaAs 1.0 eV bottom cell is replaced with a lattice-matched InGaAsN 1.18 eV bottom cell. This eliminates the need to grow a thick graded buffer layer. Another advantage of this system is higher efficiency and higher reliability solar cells which can effectively be a drop in replacement to the existing Ge based space cells. At the end of this project, MicroLink expects to have developed and integrated InGaAsN - 1.18 eV material, which can be used in Ge-based multi-junction cells that have the potential to achieve efficiencies in excess of 40% at AM0, one sun illumination.
4) SBIR Phase I through NASA
Title: Large-Area, Multi-Junction, Epitaxial Lift-Off Solar Cells with Backside Contacts
An innovative fabrication process to introduce backside contacts to MicroLink Devices' large-area, multi-junction epitaxial lift-off (ELO) solar cells will be developed. This will enable a new solar cell technology with potential benefits for future NASA solar electric propulsion (SEP) programs using very large solar cell arrays. Backside contacts are used in the highest efficiency silicon solar cells manufactured by SunPower (>24% efficiency in production) but have never been successfully applied commercially to multi-junction solar cells. Benefits for large-area space solar cell include: higher device efficiency by reducing topside grid shadow and resistive losses, new approaches for panel assembly by placing contacts on backside of solar cell, and reduced arcing in high-voltage arrays by eliminating topside interconnects. The proposed technology builds on MicroLink Devices' low-cost, lightweight ELO solar cell technology and previous experience with backside contact solar cells for CPV applications.
About MicroLink Devices, Inc.
MicroLink Devices, Inc. was founded in 2000 by Dr. Noren Pan, its current president and CEO. The company specializes in metalorganic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) growth of semiconductor structures for use in communications devices, and in the growth and fabrication of advanced solar cells for space, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), and terrestrial use. MicroLink also performs engineering research and development services: it has collaborated on commercial research and development projects with many other companies, and has been a prime federal contractor on many solar cell, optoelectronics, and electronics projects since 2003. The company has earned ISO 9001 Certification for its quality and service practices.