The potential end uses for these technologies include new devices in photovoltaics (solar cells), portable biochemical analysis and artificial retinas. While NewCyte’s research is early stage, the potential applications are compelling, and Natcore feels the addition of this intellectual property portfolio represents a significant and valuable expansion of its current intellectual property assets.
Two of NewCyte’s shareholders are Professor Andrew Barron and Dr. Dennis Flood, both of whom are scientific founders of Natcore. While Natcore’s technology involves the growth of silicon dioxide (silica) onto silicon substrates, the technology licensed by NewCyte involves the growth of thin films of silica, dielectrics and semiconductors on fullerenes, which include carbon nanotubes.
The potential applications of this technology include important improvements in solar cell designs. Specifically, NewCyte has completed a two-year, $750,000 Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract with the U.S. Air Force to improve the performance of space solar cells. The Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, administered the contract.
In this research project, NewCyte successfully demonstrated that the incorporation of quantum nanostructures in a specific manner in today’s commercially available space solar cells significantly improves overall cell performance. Use of the technology increases both cell efficiency and the cell’s resistance to the damaging effects of on-orbit cell bombardment by high-energy electrons and protons generated by the sun. It is anticipated that incorporation of NewCyte’s technology in current space solar cell designs will give satellite solar arrays more power-generating capability, and enable them to last significantly longer in orbit without requiring any change to either array size or design. This improvement would lower the cost of doing business in space and is particularly important for the civilian geosynchronous (GEO) satellites on which so much of our economic activity now depends. NewCyte has held discussions with major space satellite companies about the transition of the technology to commercial production. Natcore will consider awarding licenses to existing manufacturers of space solar cells to enable rapid entry of the technology into the marketplace.
As consideration for the purchase of NewCyte, Natcore has agreed to issue NewCyte shareholders a total of 200,000 Payment Warrants entitling the holders to acquire Natcore shares at strike prices ranging from C$0.75/share to C$2.00/share, subject to the approval of the TSX Venture Exchange.
“We had identified this exciting technology as being important and complementary to Natcore,” notes Chuck Provini, Natcore’s president and CEO. “NewCyte’s intellectual property geometrically expands the potential of Natcore’s fundamental technology into the arena of carbon nanotubes and other fullerenes. However, while the long-term significance of this acquisition could be quite substantial, we remain focused on our short-term goals of developing prototypes for Liquid Phase Deposition equipment and super-efficient tandem solar cells.”
Brien Lundin, Natcore’s chairman, adds, “Thanks to our close collaboration with Prof. Barron and Dr. Flood, we were quite familiar with what NewCyte was doing. But there are challenges to advancing early-stage technologies as a private company. Given our proven ability to push projects forward as a public company, it simply made sense to bring NewCyte under the Natcore umbrella.”
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