College, PA June 07, 2005 NanoHorizons, Inc., an
emerging leader in applied nanoscale materials and
solutions, announced today that it has received a
notice of allowance from the US Patent Office for
its innovative nanoscale photovoltaic cell design.
NanoHorizons' design enables dramatic improvements
in solar cell efficiency and breakthrough reductions
in fabrication costs. Brighter, more efficient Organic
LEDs (OLEDs) are also made possible. The new technology
will be available via NanoHorizons' new Technology
Breaking the Barrier to Cheap AND Efficient
Solar Energy: “Layered
Design” is the problem
Solar-generated electrical power using today's best photovoltaics costs 4-10
times more than conventional power generation because today's solar cells are
far too expensive to deploy widely and are only about 15% efficient.
In conventional photovoltaic cell designs, photons enter an absorption layer
producing energized electrons. These electrons travel across a portion of the
absorption layer to a collection layer where electrical energy is captured.
Both the absorption of photons producing energized electrons and the collection
of that energy occur along one line of travel, perpendicular to the layers
of the cell.
“Layered designs face an inherent paradox,” explains co-inventor Dr. Ali Kaan
Kalkan, “Thicker light-absorbing layers are needed to capture sufficient light
energy, but their thickness makes it difficult for electrons to reach collection
layers. Thinner layers reduce loss, but thin layers absorb too little light.
What's been needed is a new approach that allows the light absorption path
to be optimally long, while simultaneously moving efficient collection much
closer to the source of energized electrons.”
NanoHorizons' innovation: A 90-degree turn and applied nanotechnology
NanoHorizons' design utilizes a single nanoscale-engineered structure to
perform both absorption and collection: An array of efficient vertically-aligned
collector “nano-spikes” (made
of nanofibers, nanowires, nanotubes, or nanoparticle chains) rise throughout
a layer of light-absorptive material. By integrating vertical nano-spike
collectors into the absorption material itself, energy collection now occurs
at 90 degrees to the absorption process. Click here to
see an illustration of how this this technology works.
This breakthrough enables photovoltaics builders to use an optimally thick
absorption layer while dramatically shortening collection distance by as
much as 1000-fold (tens of nanometers vs. tens of microns in today's best
two-layer cells) – eliminating the impact of absorption layer thickness
on collection distance.
Brighter future for photovoltaics and organic LEDs
“Solar energy development has been held up by barriers inherent in cell design.
These barriers have now been broken,” said Stephen Fonash, PhD., founder of NanoHorizons
and co-inventor of the newly patented technology. “Our nanoscale approach can
enable collection lengths as small as a few tens of nanometers, opening the
door to the use of inexpensive materials and fabrication processes, while simultaneously
enabling a truly optimized absorption length. This technology is poised to
greatly stimulate growth in the solar energy and Organic LED sectors.”
New photovoltaic devices utilizing NanoHorizons' technology can be manufactured
with lower-quality materials on high-throughput production lines that use rollers
and coating/spraying machines.
Technology Licensing Program launched
Nanohorizons also announced its Technology Licensing Program, which will include
the breakthrough photovoltaic invention. The Program will enable interested
companies to utilize selected elements of NanoHorizons' extensive intellectual
property portfolio with a range of royalty arrangements.
“Our fundamental strategy is to invest in product development for only a few
components of our broad intellectual property portfolio, and offer attractive
technology licensing arrangements for other parts of the portfolio,” said Robert
Burlinson, Nanohorizons' CEO. “We believe that many prominent firms in the
photovoltaic and OLED fields will find great interest in licensing this invention.”
About NanoHorizons Inc.:
Founded in 1998, NanoHorizons focuses on nanotechnology applications in the
drug discovery, microelectronics, consumer products and health care industries
and has licensed a comprehensive portfolio of nanotechnology intellectual
property from the Penn State Research Foundation. Its research and development
team continuously produces additional real-life solutions using nanotechnology
in applied materials science.
NanoHorizons's new product and application introductions include: noble metal
nanoparticles; QuickMass™ for mass spectrometry, which addresses the need for
more cost effective compound screening in pharmaceutical research and increased
drug discovery capacity; and nano-material based humidity sensors in applications
such as environmental control, respiration monitors and medical diagnostics.
For more information, please visit www.nanohorizons.com
Nicolas A. Boillot
Dennis I. Schneider