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Interdigitated photovoltaic power conversion device

United States Patent

5,897,715
April 27, 1999
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
National Renewable Energy Laboratory - Visit the NREL Technology Transfer Website
A photovoltaic power conversion device has a top surface adapted to receive impinging radiation. The device includes at least two adjacent, serially connected cells. Each cell includes a semi-insulating substrate and a lateral conductivity layer of a first doped electrical conductivity disposed on the substrate. A base layer is disposed on the lateral conductivity layer and has the same electrical charge conductivity thereof. An emitter layer of a second doped electrical conductivity of opposite electrical charge is disposed on the base layer and forms a p-n junction therebetween. A plurality of spaced channels are formed in the emitter and base layers to expose the lateral conductivity layer at the bottoms thereof. A front contact grid is positioned on the top surface of the emitter layer of each cell. A first current collector is positioned along one outside edge of at least one first cell. A back contact grid is positioned in the channels at the top surface of the device for engagement with the lateral conductivity layer. A second current collector is positioned along at least one outside edge of at least one oppositely disposed second cell. Finally, an interdigitation mechanism is provided for serially connecting the front contact grid of one cell to the back contact grid of an adjacent cell at the top surface of the device.
Ward; James Scott (Englewood, CO), Wanlass; Mark Woodbury (Golden, CO), Gessert; Timothy Arthur (Conifer, CO)
Midwest Research Institute (Kansas City, MO)
08/ 858,422
May 19, 1997
CONTRACT ORIGIN OF THE INVENTION The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC-36-83CH10093 between the United States Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a division of the Midwest Research Institute.