NREL Expands Natcore's License To Develop "Black Silicon" Solar Cells
RED BANK, N.J., Aug. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- By adding new patents to its original license to Natcore Technology Inc. (TSX-V: NXT; NTCXF.PK), the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has expanded that license under which Natcore will develop and commercialize a line of black silicon products based on NREL patents.
"Black silicon" refers to the apparent color of the surface of a silicon wafer after it has been etched with nano-scale pores; the black color results from the absence of reflected light from the porous wafer surface.
Natcore's antireflective coating process begins with an uncoated, textured silicon wafer. First, nanoscale pores are etched into the wafer surface, using gold or silver nanoparticles, by submerging the wafer for a few minutes in a liquid solution at room temperature. Next, using the company's liquid phase deposition (LPD) process, Natcore scientists fill the pores and then over-coat them with silicon dioxide. This combination step both coats and passivates, thereby allowing lower reflectance.
NREL's most meaningful new black silicon patent relates to the use of copper nanoparticles in the etching process instead of nanoparticles of gold or silver.
"Because copper is less expensive than the precious metals, this new patent could enable Natcore to further reduce the cost of solar cells," says Natcore President and CEO Chuck Provini. "This could be another step toward our goal of halving the cost and increasing the output of solar cells."
Natcore scientists have created a black surface on a silicon wafer with an average reflectance in the visible and near-infrared region of the solar spectrum of 0.3%, making it the "blackest" silicon solar cell surface ever recorded. Natcore refers to this surface as "Absolute Black."
The original NREL-Natcore license was granted in December 2011. Natcore and NREL have also entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement to develop commercial prototypes that embody NREL's black silicon inventions.
NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy LLC.
Statements in this press release other than purely historical factual information, including statements relating to revenues or profits, or Natcore's future plans and objectives, or expected sales, cash flows, and capital expenditures constitute forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based on numerous assumptions and are subject to all of the risks and uncertainties inherent in Natcore's business, including risks inherent in the technology history. There can be no assurance that such forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on such statements. Except in accordance with applicable securities laws, Natcore expressly disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements or forward-looking statements that are incorporated by reference herein.
Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
Contact: Chuck Provini
SOURCE Natcore Technology Inc.
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