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Patent Analysis of

Emissivity coating for space solar cell arrays

Updated Time 12 June 2019

Patent Registration Data

Publication Number

US10153388

Application Number

US14/216607

Application Date

17 March 2014

Publication Date

11 December 2018

Current Assignee

SOLAERO TECHNOLOGIES CORP.

Original Assignee (Applicant)

SOLAERO TECHNOLOGIES CORP.

International Classification

H01L31/04,H01L31/042,H01L31/18

Cooperative Classification

H01L31/18,H01L31/041,H01L31/02167,H01L31/042,H01L31/0504

Inventor

TOURINO, CORY,HAZLETT, DWIGHT,GUZIE, BRIAN

Patent Images

This patent contains figures and images illustrating the invention and its embodiment.

US10153388 Emissivity coating space solar 1 US10153388 Emissivity coating space solar 2 US10153388 Emissivity coating space solar 3
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Abstract

The present disclosure provides a solar cell array for deployment and use in a space environment, and methods of making same. The array includes a plurality of solar cells having an emissivity coating on the baskside of each, with each coated solar cell being attached to a supporting member.

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Claims

1. A solar cell array for deployment and use in a space environment comprising a plurality of coated III-V compound semiconductor multijunction solar cells attached to a flexible supporting member to provide an array comprising the plurality of coated III-V compound semiconductor multijunction solar cells;

wherein each solar cell of the plurality of solar cells is a space solar cell designed for operation at AM0; wherein each solar cell of the plurality of coated III-V compound semiconductor multijunction solar cells has a front surface and a backside surface, wherein each backside surface is entirely covered with a metallic backside layer having an emissive coating formed from a coating material comprising a room temperature vulcanizable (RTV) silicone compounded to provide a white silicone emissive coating directly on a portion of the metallic backside layer; wherein the supporting member configures each solar cell of the plurality of coated III-V compound semiconductor multijunction solar cells such that at least a portion of each exposed coating on the backside layer is exposed to the space environment when deployed; and wherein, when exposed to sunlight, the array comprising the plurality of coated III-V compound semiconductor multijunction solar cells has a temperature that is lower than a temperature of an array comprising a plurality of uncoated III-V compound semiconductor multijunction solar cells due to the emissivity of the emissive coating.

2. The solar cell array of claim 1 wherein the array comprising the plurality of coated III-V compound semiconductor multijunction solar cells has an efficiency that is higher than an efficiency of an array comprising a plurality of uncoated III-V compound semiconductor multijunction solar cells.

3. The solar cell array of claim 1 wherein the room temperature vulcanizable (RTV) silicone is compounded with TiO2 and/or SiO2.

4. The solar cell array of claim 1 wherein the coating material is applied by spraying.

5. The solar cell array of claim 1 wherein the emissive coating is cured at room temperature for at least seven days following application.

6. The solar cell array of claim 1 wherein each coated III-V compound semiconductor multijunction solar cell is an inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cell.

7. The solar cell array of claim 1 wherein the supporting member is a mesh.

8. The solar cell array of claim 1 wherein the metallic backside layer is a sequence of layers composed of Ti/Au/Ag/Au.

9. The solar cell array of claim 1 further comprising a discrete interconnection member to provide an electrical connection between adjacent coated III-V compound semiconductor multijunction solar cells in the array.

10. A solar cell array for deployment and use in a space environment comprising a plurality of coated III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cells attached to a flexible supporting member to provide an array comprising the plurality of coated III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cells and further comprising a discrete interconnection member to provide an electrical connection between adjacent coated III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cells;

wherein each solar cell of the plurality of solar cells is a space solar cell designed for operation at AM0; wherein each solar cell of the plurality of coated III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cells has a front surface and a backside surface, wherein each backside surface is entirely covered with a metallic backside layer comprising a sequence of layers composed of Ti/Au/Ag/Au, and further comprising an emissive coating directly on a portion of the metallic backside layer, wherein the emissive coating is formed from a coating material comprising a white room temperature vulcanizable (RTV) silicone compounded with TiO2 and/or SiO2 that is spray coated and cured at room temperature for at least seven days following application; wherein the supporting member is a mesh that configures each solar cell of the plurality of coated III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cells such that at least a portion of each exposed coating on the backside layer is exposed to the space environment when deployed; and wherein when exposed to sunlight, the array comprising the plurality of coated III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cells has a temperature that is lower than a temperature of an array comprising a plurality of uncoated III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cells due to the emissivity of the emissive coating.

11. The solar cell array of claim 10 wherein the array comprising the plurality of coated III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cells has an efficiency that is higher than an efficiency of an array comprising a plurality of uncoated III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cells.

12. A solar cell array for deployment and use in a space environment comprising a plurality of coated III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cells attached to a flexible supporting member to provide an array comprising the plurality of coated III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cells and further comprising a discrete interconnection member to provide an electrical connection between adjacent coated III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cells;

wherein each solar cell of the plurality of solar cells is a space solar cell designed for operation at AM0; wherein each solar cell of the plurality of coated III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cells has a front surface and a backside surface, wherein each backside surface is entirely covered with a metallic backside layer comprising a sequence of layers composed of Ti/Au/Ag/Au, and further comprising an emissive coating directly on a portion of the metallic backside layer, wherein the emissive coating is formed from a coating material comprising a white room temperature vulcanizable (RTV) silicone compounded with TiO2 and/or SiO2 that is spray coated and cured at room temperature for at least seven days following application; wherein the supporting member is a mesh that configures each solar cell of the plurality of coated III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cells such that at least a portion of each exposed coating on the backside layer is exposed to the space environment when deployed; wherein, when exposed to sunlight, the array comprising the plurality of coated III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cells has a temperature that is lower than a temperature of an array comprising a plurality of uncoated III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cells due to the emissivity of the emissive coating; and wherein the array comprising the plurality of coated III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cells has an efficiency that is higher than an efficiency of an array comprising a plurality of uncoated III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cells.

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Claim Tree

  • 1
    1. A solar cell array for deployment and use in a space environment comprising
    • a plurality of coated III-V compound semiconductor multijunction solar cells attached to a flexible supporting member to provide an array comprising the plurality of coated III-V compound semiconductor multijunction solar cells
    • wherein each solar cell of the plurality of solar cells is a space solar cell designed for operation at AM0
    • wherein each solar cell of the plurality of coated III-V compound semiconductor multijunction solar cells has a front surface and a backside surface, wherein each backside surface is entirely covered with a metallic backside layer having an emissive coating formed from a coating material comprising a room temperature vulcanizable (RTV) silicone compounded to provide a white silicone emissive coating directly on a portion of the metallic backside layer
    • wherein the supporting member configures each solar cell of the plurality of coated III-V compound semiconductor multijunction solar cells such that at least a portion of each exposed coating on the backside layer is exposed to the space environment when deployed
    • and wherein, when exposed to sunlight, the array comprising the plurality of coated III-V compound semiconductor multijunction solar cells has a temperature that is lower than a temperature of an array comprising a plurality of uncoated III-V compound semiconductor multijunction solar cells due to the emissivity of the emissive coating.
    • 2. The solar cell array of claim 1 wherein
      • the array comprising
    • 3. The solar cell array of claim 1 wherein
      • the room temperature vulcanizable (RTV) silicone is compounded with TiO2 and/or SiO2.
    • 4. The solar cell array of claim 1 wherein
      • the coating material is applied by spraying.
    • 5. The solar cell array of claim 1 wherein
      • the emissive coating is cured at room temperature for at least seven days following application.
    • 6. The solar cell array of claim 1 wherein
      • each coated III-V compound semiconductor multijunction solar cell is an inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cell.
    • 7. The solar cell array of claim 1 wherein
      • the supporting member is a mesh.
    • 8. The solar cell array of claim 1 wherein
      • the metallic backside layer is a sequence of layers composed of
    • 9. The solar cell array of claim 1 further comprising
      • a discrete interconnection member to provide an electrical connection between adjacent coated III-V compound semiconductor multijunction solar cells in the array.
  • 10
    10. A solar cell array for deployment and use in a space environment comprising
    • a plurality of coated III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cells attached to a flexible supporting member to provide an array comprising the plurality of coated III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cells and further comprising a discrete interconnection member to provide an electrical connection between adjacent coated III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cells
    • wherein each solar cell of the plurality of solar cells is a space solar cell designed for operation at AM0
    • wherein each solar cell of the plurality of coated III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cells has a front surface and a backside surface, wherein each backside surface is entirely covered with a metallic backside layer comprising a sequence of layers composed of Ti/Au/Ag/Au, and further comprising an emissive coating directly on a portion of the metallic backside layer, wherein the emissive coating is formed from a coating material comprising a white room temperature vulcanizable (RTV) silicone compounded with TiO2 and/or SiO2 that is spray coated and cured at room temperature for at least seven days following application
    • wherein the supporting member is a mesh that configures each solar cell of the plurality of coated III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cells such that at least a portion of each exposed coating on the backside layer is exposed to the space environment when deployed
    • and wherein when exposed to sunlight, the array comprising the plurality of coated III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cells has a temperature that is lower than a temperature of an array comprising a plurality of uncoated III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cells due to the emissivity of the emissive coating.
    • 11. The solar cell array of claim 10 wherein
      • the array comprising
  • 12
    12. A solar cell array for deployment and use in a space environment comprising
    • a plurality of coated III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cells attached to a flexible supporting member to provide an array comprising the plurality of coated III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cells and further comprising a discrete interconnection member to provide an electrical connection between adjacent coated III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cells
    • wherein each solar cell of the plurality of solar cells is a space solar cell designed for operation at AM0
    • wherein each solar cell of the plurality of coated III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cells has a front surface and a backside surface, wherein each backside surface is entirely covered with a metallic backside layer comprising a sequence of layers composed of Ti/Au/Ag/Au, and further comprising an emissive coating directly on a portion of the metallic backside layer, wherein the emissive coating is formed from a coating material comprising a white room temperature vulcanizable (RTV) silicone compounded with TiO2 and/or SiO2 that is spray coated and cured at room temperature for at least seven days following application
    • wherein the supporting member is a mesh that configures each solar cell of the plurality of coated III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cells such that at least a portion of each exposed coating on the backside layer is exposed to the space environment when deployed
    • wherein, when exposed to sunlight, the array comprising the plurality of coated III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cells has a temperature that is lower than a temperature of an array comprising a plurality of uncoated III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cells due to the emissivity of the emissive coating
    • and wherein the array comprising the plurality of coated III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cells has an efficiency that is higher than an efficiency of an array comprising a plurality of uncoated III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cells.
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Description

REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is related to co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/440,331 filed Apr. 5, 2012, herein incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present disclosure relates to space solar cells and the assembly of arrays of such solar cells, and more particularly the design and specification and application of the backside coating layer for use on multijunction solar cells based on III-V semiconductor compounds mounted on an array assembly which exposes the backside to the space environment.

2. Description of the Related Art

Solar power from photovoltaic cells, also called solar cells, has been predominantly provided by silicon semiconductor technology. In the past several years, however, high-volume manufacturing of III-V compound semiconductor multijunction solar cells for space applications has accelerated the development of such technology not only for use in space but also for terrestrial solar power applications. Compared to silicon, III-V compound semiconductor multijunction devices have greater energy conversion efficiencies and generally more radiation resistance, although they tend to be more complex to manufacture. Typical commercial III-V compound semiconductor multijunction solar cells have energy efficiencies that exceed 27% under one sun, air mass 0 (AM0), illumination, whereas even the most efficient silicon technologies generally reach only about 18% efficiency under comparable conditions. Under high solar concentration (e.g., 500X), commercially available III-V compound semiconductor multijunction solar cells in terrestrial applications (at AM1.5D) have energy efficiencies that exceed 37%. The higher conversion efficiency of III-V compound semiconductor solar cells compared to silicon solar cells is in part based on the ability to achieve spectral splitting of the incident radiation through the use of a plurality of photovoltaic regions with different band gap energies, and accumulating the current from each of the regions.

In satellite and other space related applications, the size, mass and cost of a satellite power system are dependent on the power and energy conversion efficiency of the solar cells used. Putting it another way, the size of the payload and the availability of on-board services are proportional to the amount of power provided. Thus, as payloads become more sophisticated, the power-to-weight ratio of a solar cell becomes increasingly more important, and there is increasing interest in lighter weight, “thin film” type solar cells having both high efficiency and low mass.

The efficiency of energy conversion, which converts solar energy (or photons) to electrical energy, depends on various factors such as the design of solar cell structures, the choice of semiconductor materials, and the thickness of each cell. In short, the energy conversion efficiency for each solar cell is dependent on the optimum utilization of the available sunlight across the solar spectrum. As such, the characteristic of sunlight absorption in semiconductor material, also known as photovoltaic properties, is critical to determine the most efficient semiconductor to achieve the optimum energy conversion.

Typical III-V compound semiconductor solar cells are fabricated on a semiconductor wafer in vertical, multijunction structures or stacked sequence of solar subcells, each subcell formed with appropriate semiconductor layers and including a p-n photoactive junction. Each subcell is designed to convert photons over different spectral or wavelength bands to electrical current. After the sunlight impinges on the front of the solar cell, and photons pass through the subcells, the photons in a wavelength band that are not absorbed and converted to electrical energy in the region of one subcell propagate to the next subcell, where such photons are intended to be captured and converted to electrical energy, assuming the downstream subcell is designed for the photon's particular wavelength or energy band.

The individual solar cells or wafers are then disposed in horizontal arrays, with the individual solar cells connected together in an electrical series and/or parallel circuit. The shape and structure of an array, as well as the number of cells it contains, are determined in part by the desired output voltage and current. One such array is a mesh such as depicted in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/440,331 filed Apr. 5, 2012.

The energy conversion efficiency of multijunction solar cells is affected by such factors as the number of subcells, the thickness of each subcell, and the band structure, electron energy levels, conduction, and absorption of each subcell. Factors such as the short circuit current density (Jsc), the open circuit voltage (Voc), and the fill factor are also important. The temperature of operation of the solar cell is also important, and the use of coatings on the surfaces of the solar cell must be appropriately selected to achieve both suitable reflectivity (i.e., low absorbance from direct sunlight) and emissivity (i.e., the ability to transfer internally generated heat to the surrounding environment).

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Briefly, and in general terms, the present disclosure provides a method of providing an emissive coating on the back side of a solar cell array for deployment and use in a space environment, comprising: providing a plurality of solar cells, each having a front surface and a backside surface, wherein each backside surface is entirely covered with a metallic layer; masking a portion of each backside surface; applying a coating material over each masked backside surface with an emissive coating material to coat each masked backside and provide a plurality of solar cells having an emissive coating thereon; and attaching the plurality of coated solar cells to a supporting member to provide an array of coated solar cells, wherein the supporting member configures the solar cells such that at least a portion of each exposed coated backside surface is exposed to the space environment when deployed. In some embodiments, when exposed to sunlight, the temperature of the array of coated solar cells is lower than the temperature of an array of uncoated solar cells due to the emissivity of the coating. In some embodiments, the efficiency of the array of coated solar cells is higher than the efficiency of a similar array having uncoated solar cells.

In some embodiments, the solar cell is a III-V compound semiconductor multijunction solar cell.

In some embodiments, the solar cell is a III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cell.

In some embodiments, the supporting member is a mesh.

In some embodiments, the supporting member is a perforated support, with the front and back of the solar cells exposed to the ambient through the perforations.

In some embodiments, the supporting member is a flexible perforated support, with the front and back of the solar cells exposed to the ambient through the perforations.

In some embodiments, the metallic backside layer is a sequence of layers composed of Ti/Au/Ag/Au.

In some embodiments, the coating layer is composed of a material containing 10% titanium dioxide.

In some embodiments, the coating layer is composed of a material containing 10% amorphous silica.

In some embodiments, the coating layer is composed of a white silicone dispersion material in a petroleum ether such as VM&P Naphtha.

In some embodiments, the coating layer is cured for a period of at least seven days following application.

In some embodiments, the coating layer is composed of a material containing a controlled volatility RTV silicone atomic oxygen protective overcoat material such as those available from NuSil Technology LLC (Carpinteria, Calif.).

In some embodiments, the coating layer is composed of a material containing a controlled volatility RTV silicone atomic oxygen protective overcoat material such as the product available under the trade designation CV3-1144-1 from NuSil Technology LLC (Carpinteria, Calif.).

In another aspect, the present disclosure further comprises providing a discrete interconnection member to provide an electrical connection between adjacent solar cells in the array.

In some embodiments, the discrete interconnection member is a planar rectangular clip having a first end-portion welded to the metal contact layer, a second portion connected to the first end-portion and extending above the surface of the solar cell, and a third portion connected to the second portion and being serpentine in shape, and further comprising subsequently attaching a cover glass over the side of the solar cell having the metal grid lines and the attached interconnection member.

In some embodiments, the present disclosure further comprises welding the third portion of the metal interconnection member to a terminal of opposite polarity of an adjacent solar cell to thereby form an electrical series connection.

In some embodiments, the metal electrode layer has a coefficient of thermal expansion within a range of 0 to 10 ppm per degree Kelvin different from that of the adjacent semiconductor material of the semiconductor solar cell. The metal electrode layer is a multilayer stack. Most of the metals in the stack do not fall within 10 ppm/K coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) range of the semiconductor.

In some embodiments, the metal electrode layer includes molybdenum, an Fe-Ni alloy, and/or a Ni-Co-Fe alloy (such as those available under the trade designation Kovar from Carpenter Technology Corporation, Wyomissing, Pa.), which may be suitably CTE matched to the semiconductor material.

In some embodiments, the metal electrode layer includes a sequence of layers including Ti/Au/Ag/Au or Ti/Mo/Ni/Au, among other sequences of layers in the metal electrode layer.

In some embodiments, the attaching step of the interconnection member is performed by welding. In some embodiments, the welding step utilizes AuGe, AuSn, PbSn, SnAgCu (SAC)-solders.

In some embodiments, the attaching step of the interconnection member is performed by adhesive bonding utilizing Ag or C-loaded polymide/ or B-stage epoxies.

In some embodiments, the metal interconnection member is composed of molybdenum, a nickel-cobalt ferrous alloy, or a nickel iron alloy material.

In some embodiments, in which the solar cell is a III-V compound semiconductor inverted metamorphic multijunction solar cell, the present disclosure further comprises the step of depositing a sequence of layers on a growth substrate, including forming a first subcell comprising a first semiconductor material with a first band gap and a first lattice constant; forming a second subcell comprising a second semiconductor material with a second band gap and a second lattice constant, wherein the second band gap is less than the first band gap and the second lattice constant is greater than the first lattice constant; and forming a lattice constant transition material positioned between the first subcell and the second subcell, said lattice constant transition material having a lattice constant that changes gradually from the first lattice constant to the second lattice constant.

Some implementations of the present disclosure may incorporate or implement fewer of the aspects and features noted in the foregoing summaries.

Additional aspects, advantages, and novel features of the present disclosure will become apparent to those skilled in the art from this disclosure, including the following detailed description as well as by practice of the disclosure. While the disclosure is described below with reference to preferred embodiments, it should be understood that the disclosure is not limited thereto. Those of ordinary skill in the art having access to the teachings herein will recognize additional applications, modifications and embodiments in other fields, which are within the scope of the disclosure as disclosed and claimed herein and with respect to which the disclosure could be of utility.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

The invention will be better and more fully appreciated by reference to the following detailed description when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a top view of the solar cell in one embodiment of the present disclosure as the solar cell is scribed after being fabricated on a wafer;

FIG. 2 is a top view of the backside of two solar cells in the configuration of those of FIG. 1 together with a mask overlying the peripheral edges of the solar cell in one embodiment of the present disclosure during an initial stage of fabrication prior to the deposition of the coating layer;

FIG. 3 is a depiction of the operation of spraying of the coating layer on the masked solar cells;

FIG. 4 is a top view of the backside of two solar cells after the spraying operation and the removal of the mask;

FIG. 5 is a top view of the solar cell in one embodiment of the present disclosure prior to the solar cell being scribed from the wafer;

FIG. 6A is a top view of an array of four solar cells prior to being mounted on a first supporting member; and

FIG. 6B is a top view of an array of four solar cells after being mounted on a first supporting member in the X direction.

DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENTS

Details of the present invention will now be described including exemplary aspects and embodiments thereof. Referring to the drawings and the following description, like reference numbers are used to identify like or functionally similar elements, and are intended to illustrate major features of exemplary embodiments in a highly simplified diagrammatic manner. Moreover, the drawings are not intended to depict every feature of the actual embodiment nor the relative dimensions of the depicted elements, and are not drawn to scale.

The present disclosure provides a process for coating a backside of a solar cell, and permanently mounting a solar cell on a perforated support, such as a flexible mesh support, and providing an electrical interconnect member for connecting each cell to adjacent cells. More specifically, the present disclosure intends to provide a relatively simple and reproducible technique that is suitable for use in a high volume production environment in which various semiconductor layers are deposited in an MOCVD reactor, and subsequent processing steps are defined and selected to minimize any physical damage to the quality of the deposited layers, thereby ensuring a relatively high yield of operable solar cells meeting specifications at the conclusion of the fabrication processes.

FIG. 1 is a top view of a wafer 10 in which a solar cell 20 according to one embodiment of the present disclosure is fabricated on wafer 10. After fabrication, the solar cell 20 can be scribed from the wafer as illustrated by scribe marks 30.

FIG. 2 is a top view of solar cells 100 of one embodiment of the present disclosure during an initial stage of fabrication prior to the deposition of the coating layer. FIG.2 shows the backside of two solar cells (110, 120) as illustrated in FIG. 1 together with mask 130 overlying the peripheral edges (140, 150) of solar cells 110 and 120, respectively.

A wide variety of coating materials can be used to prepare the coating layer. Suitable coating materials can include silicones such as room temperature vulcanizable (RTV) silicones, and particularly RTV silicones compounded with pigments (e.g., TiO2 and/or SiO2) to be white. Exemplary RTV silicone coating materials may include an oxime cure system that allows the material to cure at room temperature over a period of about seven days. Suitable RTV silicones are available under the trade designation CV#-1144-1 from NuSil Technology LLC (Carpinteria, Calif.), which are controlled volatility materials that can provide atomic oxygen protective overcoats.

The coating material can be applied to the masked solar cells by a wide variety of methods including, for example, roll coating, bar coating, electrostatic coating, and spray coating. For some embodiments, the coating material can be conveniently sprayed on the masked solar cells. FIG. 3 is a depiction of an exemplary embodiment illustrating an apparatus 200 for spraying the coating material 210 on the masked solar cells 220.

FIG. 4 is a top view of the backside of two solar cells 300 after the spraying operation and the removal of the mask. The emissive coating 310 is shown by the stipled portion of solar cells 300, with the uncoated portions 340 and 350 representing the back metal. The tabs 320 and 330 on the top and sides of the solar cells represent interconnects.

FIG. 5 is a top view of a wafer 400 in which a solar cell 420 according to one embodiment of the present disclosure is fabricated on wafer 400. After fabrication, the solar cell 420 can be scribed from the wafer as illustrated by scribe marks 430. Prior to solar cell 420 being scribed from the wafer, and interconnect can be attached to the solar cell at the shadowed region 440.

FIG. 6A is a top view of an array of four solar cells (510, 520, 530, 540) prior to being mounted on a first supporting member. The interconnect is not depicted in order to simplify the drawing. In some embodiments the interconnect may be welded or attached to the cells after the solar cells have been separated from the wafer, and before the solar cells are positioned, aligned, and adhered to the surface of a perforated carrier or support. In other embodiments, the solar cells may be mounted on the carrier without the interconnect, and the interconnect welded to the cells while on the carrier.

FIG. 6B is a top view of an array of four solar cells (610, 620, 630, 640) after being mounted on a first supporting member 650 in the X direction. Similar arrays can be stacked in horizontal arrays and a second supporting member used in the Y direction to form a mesh. In one embodiment, the mesh may be formed with square shaped perforations, with the dimensions of each square shaped aperture being approximately 0.25 cm. The mesh can be formed from a wide variety of mesh materials such as those available under the trade designation Ultratech from Volm Companies, Inc. (Antigo, Wis.). A mesh material available under the trade designation UltraMesh from Ultraflex Ssytems Incorporated (Randolph, N.J.) can be used as the finished support platform for the solar cell array. The interconnect is not depicted in order to simplify the drawing.

A variety of different features and aspects of multijunction solar cells are disclosed in the related applications noted above. Some or all of such features may be included in the structures and processes associated with the solar cells of the present invention. Neither, some or all of such aspects may be included in the structures and processes associated with the semiconductor devices and/or solar cells of the present invention.

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Citation

Patents Cited in This Cited by
Title Current Assignee Application Date Publication Date
Monolithic bypass-diode and solar-cell string assembly BOUTROS KARIM S.,KRUT DMITRI D.,KARAM NASSER H. 29 April 2002 07 November 2002
Amorphous solar cell MITSUBISHI DENKI KK 30 January 1984 21 August 1985
AMINCISSEMENT D'UNE PLAQUETTE SEMICONDUCTRICE STMICROELECTRONICS SA 17 November 2004 19 May 2006
Multijunction photovoltaic cell using a silicon or silicon-germanium substrate THE BOEING COMPANY 30 November 2000 20 June 2001
Apparatus and method for optimizing the efficiency of a bypass diode in solar cells SHARPS PAUL R.,CLEVENGER MARVIN BRAD,STAN MARK A. 26 November 2003 05 August 2004
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US10153388 Emissivity coating space solar 1 US10153388 Emissivity coating space solar 2 US10153388 Emissivity coating space solar 3