National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Energy Conversion Laboratory (ECL)

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Description

The ECL houses laboratory and test facilities that support the research and development of advanced photovoltaic and other power technologies. These technologies include; advanced III-V solar cells, nanoparticle enhanced solar cells, and radioisotope thermophotovoltaics and advanced solar array technology.

The facilities encompass a full range of capabilities: from fundamental materials and device research, to applied research supporting missions currently in development; from devise/component characterization, to environmental testing of solar cells/arrays.

Features

Organometallic Vapor Phase Epitaxy (OMVPE) Facility

  • 1200 sq. ft facility containing two (2) OMVPE reactors.
  • FY05 CoF project renovating the facility including the installation of a state-of-the-art OMVPE deposition system capable of growth on multiple and/or larger substrates and in-situ materials analysis.
  • Commercial Veeco D125 deposition system allows for much quicker transfer of technology to the solar cell industry.
  • Substrate rotation and in-situ analysis capabilities allow for much greater materials uniformity.

Material Analysis and Characterization Equipment

  • Two (2) Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEM)
  • Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDAX)
  • Two (2) X-ray diffraction machines
  • Nomarski Microscopy
  • Hall Effect electrical characterization
  • Polaron electrochemical material analysis
  • Rapid Photoluminescence Mapping
  • Reverse Bias Luminescence Microscopy
  • Fourier Transform IR Spectrometer (FTIR)
  • Photoluminescence lab/equipment

Solar Cell and Array Calibration and Testing Equipment

  • Dual Source Solar Simulator – cells and small arrays
  • Spectral Response Analysis
  • Flash Solar Simulator – larger arrays
  • Lear Jet Calibration Facility
  • High Altitude Balloon Calibration (beginning in CY10)
  • Plasma interaction facility (PIF) for testing of space environmental effects on solar arrays components
  • Dust interaction/solar array test facilit
  • High temperature solar cell stability analysis
  • Space environment design and fabrication

Solar Cell/Thermophotovoltaic (TPV) Processing Facilities

  • Vapor Deposition Lab for contact metallization
  • Photolithography Lab/equipment
  • TPV selective emitter/characterization
  • TPV materials degradation analysis

Research Projects

High Efficiency Solar Cells on Optimum Substrates

  • Development of high efficiency solar cells on lightweight flexible substrates such as molybdenum foil, poly Germanium, and Kapton to increase the specific power

Thermophotovoltaics (TPV)

  • Development of advanced Monolithic Integrated Modules (MIM) for use with the General Purpose Heat Source (GPHS).

Quantum Dot Solar Cells

  • Insertion of nano-materials into the intrinsic region of III-V based solar cells to increase the efficiency and radiation resistance of the devices.

Potential Uses

R&D for Advanced Semiconductor Devices

  • Development of advance photovoltaic devices
  • Deposition of III-V materials for sensors
  • Light Emitting Diode (LED) development

R&D for Advanced Solar Array Concepts

  • Blanket components and array designs
  • NASA, DoD, and commercial mission applications
  • Unique testing methodology development

Point of Contact: Eric Clark, 216-433-3926