Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Imec significantly reduces cost of germanium-based thermophotovoltaic cells

Date:
June 9, 2010
Source:
Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre (IMEC)
Summary:
Researchers have presented an improved processing technique for germanium-based thermophotovoltaic (TPV) cells resulting in significant reduction of cell cost, an essential step to develop a market for thermophotovoltaic applications. The newly developed TPV cells are fabricated on germanium substrates with an optimized surface, specifically designed and manufactured for this application.

Imec’s germanium-based thermophotovoltaic cell with an optimized front and rear surface finishing.
Credit: Copyright IMEC

Imec presents an improved processing technique for germanium-based thermophotovoltaic (TPV) cells resulting in significant reduction of cell cost, an essential step to develop a market for thermophotovoltaic applications. Imec's newly developed TPV cells are fabricated on germanium substrates with an optimized surface, specifically designed and manufactured for this application.

Thermophotovoltaic cells convert radiation from heat sources with a temperature lower than the sun's temperature. TPV cells are ideally suited to be used in an industrial context, for example to generate electricity from waste heat released during steel or glass production. Alternatively, TPV cells can be added to domestic heating systems to co-generate electricity besides hot water. TPV cells may therefore reduce the waste and hence increase the efficiency of domestic heating systems.

However, due to the overall complexity of a full TPV system and the relatively high cost of existing suitable cells, TPV systems are yet to find entrance to industrial and consumer applications. Imec's newly developed fabrication process is an important first step in opening up the market potential for this very promising technology.

The emission peak of selective emitters typically used in TPV systems is close to the bandgap of germanium. Therefore, germanium photovoltaic devices are well suited as receivers for this type of systems. Germanium-based TPV cells were up to now fabricated on epi-ready substrates marketed for the epitaxial growth of III-V layers. However, Imec's processing method does not involve any epitaxial deposition steps, as the emitter is formed by diffusion and passivation obtained by using amorphous Si. During a research program, specifically designed Ge substrates for this application were manufactured and tested. Spectral response measurements comparing the traditional TPV cells starting from epi-ready substrates with TPV cells defined on specifically engineered Ge substrates show that the latter have a remarkably better quantum efficiency. This directly translates into a higher waste heat to electricity conversion efficiency.

Jef Poortmans, Director Photovoltaics at imec: "Imec's research into photovoltaics aims at finding techniques to fabricate cost efficient and more efficient solar cells. We have built up a strong expertise in silicon solar cells of more than 25 years. We successfully used this knowledge for our TPV research. We applied imec's proprietary surface passivation techniques, novel contacting technologies and material knowledge to improve the quantum efficiency of our TPV cells, resulting in higher cell performance and cost reduction."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre (IMEC). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre (IMEC). "Imec significantly reduces cost of germanium-based thermophotovoltaic cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100609094359.htm>.
Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre (IMEC). (2010, June 9). Imec significantly reduces cost of germanium-based thermophotovoltaic cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100609094359.htm
Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre (IMEC). "Imec significantly reduces cost of germanium-based thermophotovoltaic cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100609094359.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

AP (July 28, 2014) AP Investigation: As the Obama administration weans the country off dirty fuels, energy companies are ramping-up overseas coal exports at a heavy price. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shipping Crates Get New 'lease' On Life

Shipping Crates Get New 'lease' On Life

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 25, 2014) Shipping containers have been piling up as America imports more than it exports. Some university students in Washington D.C. are set to get a first-hand lesson in recycling. Their housing is being built using refashioned shipping containers. Lily Jamali reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

AFP (July 25, 2014) Europe's highest train, the little train of Artouste in the French Pyrenees, celebrates its 80th birthday. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

AP (July 24, 2014) TSA administrator, John Pistole's took part in the Aspen Security Forum 2014, where he answered questions on lifting of the ban on flights into Israel's Tel Aviv airport and whether politics played a role in lifting the ban. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins