NREL’s most meaningful new black silicon patent relates to the use of copper nanoparticles in the etching process instead of nanoparticles of gold or silver.
“Because copper is less expensive than the precious metals, this new patent could enable Natcore to further reduce the cost of solar cells,” says Natcore President and CEO Chuck Provini. “This could be another step toward our goal of halving the cost and increasing the output of solar cells.”
Natcore scientists have created a black surface on a silicon wafer with an average reflectance in the visible and near-infrared region of the solar spectrum of 0.3%, making it the “blackest” silicon solar cell surface ever recorded. Natcore refers to this surface as “Absolute Black.”
The original NREL-Natcore license was granted in December 2011. Natcore and NREL have also entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement to develop commercial prototypes that embody NREL’s black silicon inventions.
NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy’s primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy LLC.
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