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Magnolia Solar unveils enhanced InGaAs cells

The innovator of indium gallium arsenide solar cells also intends to branch out and look into developing cheaper next-generation thin-film structures such as CIGS.

Magnolia Solar Corporation has announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Magnolia Solar, Inc., has demonstrated high-voltage InGaAs quantum well waveguide solar cells, a unique structure capable of improving the performance of photovoltaic modules.

Roger E. Welser, Magnolia's Chief Technical Officer, summarised the latest technical results at the Solar Energy and Technology Conference in San Diego, California on August 21, 2011.

The presentation, titled "High-Voltage Quantum Well Waveguide Solar Cells," was part of a special session of the 2011 SPIE Optics and Photonics Symposium focused on Next Generation Cell Technologies for Solar Energy Conversion.

The work has been done in collaboration with colleagues at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Kopin Corporation, the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

Welser stated, "The absorption of photons, and the generation of electrical current, is reduced in conventional thin-film solar cell designs. Using a waveguide to help trap scattered light inside the cell can dramatically increase the amount of current that can be generated.

In the past, the challenge with implementing waveguide solar cell structures has been maintaining the voltages necessary to achieve high conversion efficiency. In this work, we demonstrated InGaAs quantum well waveguide photovoltaic devices with record-high operating voltages."

Ashok K. Sood, President and CEO of Magnolia Solar Corporation, stated, "This is a major milestone for Magnolia Solar, as we continue to make progress towards demonstrating ultra-high efficiency thin-film solar cells. The aim of the work summarised in the SPIE conference is to increase both the current and voltage output of single-junction cells by using a quantum-structured active region and incorporating advanced light-trapping strategies. With this patent-pending approach, we are seeking to achieve high solar electric conversion efficiency over a wider range of operating conditions. While our initial work has employed III-V materials, future efforts will also focus on lower-cost thin-film materials such as next-generation copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) thin-film structures. We look forward to entering the next phase of development and will continue to update our shareholders as we move ahead."
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