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Dr. Harry Atwater to Discuss Photonic Technology That Can Enable Solar to Reach 50% Efficiency at Intersolar


SAN FRANCISCO, CA. July 8, 2013

Dr. Harry A. Atwater, will discuss innovative photonic concepts for PV (photovoltaic) technology that have the potential to enable solar efficiencies of over 50%. Today's most commonly available solar technologies have reached 20% efficiency or below. This new technology has the potential to enable the use of solar technology in many ways that have not to date been considered practical.

Dr. Atwater is the Howard Hughes professor of Physics at Caltech (California Institute of Technology) and Director of the Resnick Sustainability Institute at Caltech. Dr. Atwater is also a founder of Alta Devices, which is focused on delivering the world’s most efficient, thin and flexible mobile power technology.

Dr. Atwater's talk will cover how he and his team are using solar cells like those designed by Alta Devices along with new "spectrum-splitting" techniques to increase conversion efficiency of around 30% to over 50%. This is being accomplished by using “single-junction” solar cells as components of “multi-junction” cells using spectrum splitting. Dr. Atwater will explain that the Alta Devices technology is critical because it has uniquely been able to accomplish very high efficiency and commercializable manufacturing by applying two important methods: photon recycling and epitaxial lift off (see www.altadevices.com for more information).

The work covered in this week’s presentation was supported by the Resnick Sustainability Institute, ARPA-E and the Dow Chemical Company. The talk entitled "Alta Devices and Spectrum-splitting III-V Multijunction Cells" will take place during the Intersolar North America Conference in San Francisco on July 9, 2013 at 2 pm.

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About The Resnick Sustainability Institute

The Resnick Institute is Caltech’s studio focused on the breakthroughs that will change the balance of the world’s sustainability. It marries bold creativity and deep scientific knowledge by encouraging original thinking and orthogonal ideas. The Resnick Institute works with some of the world’s top and emerging scientists—at the California Institute of Technology and beyond. Current projects at the Resnick Institute include research into energy generation, such as advanced photovoltaics, photoelectrochemical solar fuels, cellulosic biofuels, and wind energy system design; energy conversion work on batteries and fuel cells; and energy efficiency and management such as fuel efficient vehicles, green chemical synthesis, thermoelectric materials, and advanced research on electrical grid control and distribution.