Magnolia Solar has been the recipient of a six-month research award from NASA for development of technologies aimed at increasing the power output of advanced photovoltaic systems for use in NASA’s space missions. The Phase I Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) award amounts to US$100,000, and will see Magnolia focus on increasing the current and voltage output of single-junction III-V cells.
There is also a possibility of extending the award to Phase II, which will be dependent on completion of the Phase I research and product demonstration.
“Future space exploration and earth science missions will require lightweight photovoltaic power systems capable of operating over a wide range of conditions,” noted Dr. Roger E. Welser, Magnolia's CTO. “Conventional multi-junction solar cells often used in defense applications can provide high conversion efficiencies, but only under limited environmental conditions. The objective of this SBIR program is to increase the current and voltage output of single-junction III-V cells by using a quantum-structured active region and incorporating advanced light-trapping strategies. With this approach we are aiming to match the peak conversion efficiency of conventional multi-junction technologies while maintaining ultra-high performance over a much wider range of operating conditions.”