Thursday, November 03, 2011

US Patent 8049106 - Semiconductor nanowire network for a solar cell

This patent comes from research conducted at the University of Florida and teaches a way to use semiconductor nanowires to form high area contact interfaces to improve the efficiency of solar cells. Claim 1 reads:

1. A solar cell comprising an active layer, the active layer comprising:

a first layer comprising a first composition;

a second layer comprising a second composition; and

a composite layer disposed between said first and said second layer, said composite layer comprising an interpenetrated network of a third composition and a fourth composition,

wherein the third composition extends from said first layer to said second layer throughout a thickness of said composite layer, and said fourth composition extends from said second layer to said first layer through said third composition throughout said thickness of said composite layer,

wherein at least one of said third composition and said fourth composition comprises a plurality of semiconducting nanowires, wherein said semiconducting nanowires comprise InP, Si, GaAs or GaN.