Picosun to Dramatically Increase Solar Cell Efficiency

Published on February 9, 2009 at 6:52 PM

Leading Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) systems manufacturer Picosun Oy, Finland, takes part in an EU funded research project aiming at dramatically increasing the efficiency of solar cells.

The project, named ROD-SOL (short for Rods for Novel Solar Cells) endeavors to create new, more cost effective nanomaterials for solar cells. The European Union has allocated 2.9 million euros from its 7th European Research Programme for the 4 million euro budget of ROD-SOL.

"Picosun is extremely proud to be one of only four industrial partners in this enormously important project”, says Juhana Kostamo, Managing Director of Picosun. “Thin films are going to be the key for success in this project. Picosun focuses exclusively on ALD and ALD is key to advanced thin films”, Kostamo says.

According to Dr. Silke Christiansen, the coordinator of ROD-SOL from the Institute of Photonic Technology in Germany, one of seven science partners of the project, the optimization of the growth of silicon nanorods on inexpensive substrates, such as glass or synthetic foil for future thin film solar cells is one of the goals of the project. These nanorods are expected to serve as ideal light traps to capture the energy of light for transformation into electricity.

In order to cover current world-wide requirements of electric power with photovoltaics, a square having 380 km sides would be sufficient. This corresponds to the surface area of countries like Tajikistan, Bangladesh or Nepal, or less than half of the surface area of countries like Italy, the Philippines or Finland.

“The more effective solar cells are is the make and break of the future potential use of photovoltaics. ROD-SOL aims at raising the efficiency of solar cells by more than half from their current capacity,” says Kostamo. “The urgency to find sustainable new ways to generate energy is obvious to us all.”

Science partners of the project are from Austria, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Switzerland, and USA. Industrial partners are from Finland, Germany and Slovenia. Dr. Henning Wicht, a leading expert in solar energy, working as a Senior Director and Principal Analyst, Photovoltaics and MEMS Research at iSuppli Corp, is one of the key persons bringing an extra insight to the rapid development of the solar cell technology and solar energy market during the course of the project.

Picosun is an international equipment manufacturer with world-wide sales and service organization. Picosun develops and manufactures Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) reactors for micro- and nanotechnology applications. Picosun represents continuity to over three decades of ALD reactor manufacturing in Finland. Picosun provides its customers with versatile, reliable and user-friendly ALD process tools, which offer unique scalability from research to production. Picosun is based in Espoo, Finland and has its US headquarters in Detroit, Michigan. SUNALE™ ALD process tools are installed in various universities, research institutes and companies across Europe, USA and Asia

Dr Tuomo Suntola, inventor of ALD technology, is Member of the Board of Directors of Picosun. World’s most experienced ALD reactor designer Sven Lindfors is Picosun´s Chief Technology Officer and one of the founders of the company. Picosun Oy is a part of Stephen Industries Inc Oy.

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