Feeds

Startup slices solar panels using ion gun

Promises thin film panels at half the cost

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

After keeping a low profile for some years, a startup called Twin Creeks Technologies has gone public with an interesting approach to making solar panels: it uses an ion gun to slice ultra-thin leaves from a wafer.

Its approach is to fire hydrogen ions at a substrate, a technique the company says produces very thin wafers which are both cheaper to produce in volume (since they use less materials) and are flexible (by virtue of being thin).

The ion gun, which the company calls “Hyperion”, performs a process tagged “proton induced exfoliation”, in which high-energy hydrogen ions are embedded beneath the surface of the target (or “donor”) wafer, essentially cutting thin films from the surface of the wafer.

Hyperion's wafer drum. Source: Twin Creeks Technologies

In other words, Hyperion “slices” the fabricated wafer more thinly than current processing techniques, by firing the protons through the surface of the wafer to a precise depth, lifting off the thin slices from the surface. Twin Creeks Technologies claims to have taken ten solar-cell slices from the surface of a single original wafer.

Twin Creeks Technologies says it can produce cells with “good optical confinement” (ie, the cells are good at trapping light) at thicknesses of between 30 and 60 microns, which the company says is “one tenth as thick as conventional wafers”.

The company says it can process more than 1.5 million wafers per year, equating to a systems which in deployment would produce more than 6 megawatts’ worth of solar cells. The system is also suitable for other silicon and gallium arsenide wafer processes. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
HUGE SHARK as big as a WWII SUBMARINE died out, allowing whales to exist
Who'd win a fight: Megalodon or a German battleship?
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.