Feeds

Startup slices solar panels using ion gun

Promises thin film panels at half the cost

The Power of One Infographic

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. ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets
Just being in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean there'll be anyone to eat the porridge
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.