Friday, March 27, 2015

Stanford GaAs process could yield better solar cells, faster chips

New Stanford manufacturing process could yield better solar cells, faster chips
Silicon isn't the only chip-making material under the sun, just the cheapest. But a new process could make the alternative material, gallium arsenide, more cost effective.

Silicon is typically used in solar cells and computer chips. Gallium arsenide is an alternative material with many advantages. But it costs too much. A new process would reduce manufacturing costs.

"Solar cells that use gallium arsenide hold the record when it comes to the efficiency at which they convert sunlight into electricity," said Bruce Clemens, the professor of materials science and engineering who led this work.

"Once it becomes possible to make gallium arsenide more cost-effectively, other people will jump in to improve other parts of the process,'' Clemens said. "And with each advance, more uses will open up, especially in solar energy generation where gallium arsenide has clear efficiency advantages."

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