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New fabrication technique could provide breakthrough for solar energy systems
Date:2/27/2013

s over the hump and make solar energy cost-competitive with fossil fuels," says Willis. "This is brand new technology, a whole new train of thought."

The Penn State Altoona research team which has been exploring the theoretical side of rectennas for more than a decade is led by physics professor Darin Zimmerman, with fellow physics professors Gary Weisel and Brock Weiss serving as co-investigators. The collaboration also includes Penn State emeritus physics professors Paul Cutler and Nicholas Miskovsky, who are principal members of Scitech Associates.

"The solar power conversion device under development by this collaboration of two universities and an industry subcontractor has the potential to revolutionize green solar power technology by increasing efficiencies, reducing costs, and providing new economic opportunities," Zimmerman says.

"Until the advent of selective atomic layer deposition (ALD), it has not been possible to fabricate practical and reproducible rectenna arrays that can harness solar energy from the infrared through the visible," says Zimmerman. "ALD is a vitally important processing step, making the creation of these devices possible. Ultimately, the fabrication, characterization, and modeling of the proposed rectenna arrays will lead to increased understanding of the physical processes underlying these devices, with the promise of greatly increasing the efficiency of solar power conversion technology."

The atomic layer deposition process is favored by science and industry because it is simple, easily reproducible, and scalable for mass production. Willis says the chemical process is particularly applicable for precise, homogenous coatings for nanostructures, nanowires, nanotubes, and for use in the next generation of high-performing semi-conductors and transistors.

The method being used to fabricate rectennas also can be applied to other areas, including enhancing current photovoltaics (the conversion
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Contact: Colin Poitras
colin.poitras@uconn.edu
860-486-4656
University of Connecticut
Source:Eurekalert  

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